Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm A Believer

Nickelodeon made me a HUGE Monkees fan. RIP Davy Jones, who died today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweetest Thing I've Ever Known...

While we were at home for my son's grandfather's funeral, my nephew told him, "I hope you don't cry."

I got ready to fuss at him. "Why? It's okay if he cries. It's his grandpa!"

"Because," my nephew said, "When he cries, I get tears in my eyes. I want to cry to. I don't know. Like when he hurt his nose in basketball and he was lying on the court, I cried, too. It's like we have the same power."

And of course, I melted. "That's love," I told him gently.

And he was right. Love is the sweetest power. I am so glad my son has someone who loves him so much. They've pretty much been raised like brothers (my sister and I lived together for years and now, my nephew lives with me) but just to hear that love put in halting, eleven-year-old words...

It's the sweetest thing I've ever known.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


was in Louisiana almost a week. so many thoughts. things to post tomorrow :-))

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Big Guy

For 13.5 years, my kid has had a variety of nicknames. His dad and I call him Mooch; my mama calls him Toot-a-loo (he gone kill me for that one), my brother calls him LuLu, and his PawPaw (Mr. S) called him "Big Guy." Once upon a time, when he was a little bitty thing, he rejected all the nicknames, and instructed people to call him only by his first name. He hurt his PawPaw's feelings. Now, I am a big believer in calling people what they choose, but I knew Mr. S was coming from a place of love and affection. I asked my little one if he had a particular objection to "Big Guy." He said no. I told him that PawPaw called him that because he was growing up so fast and was such a big boy that the name fit. He liked that idea so much that he went to tell Mr. S that he could resume calling him "Big Guy" ASAP. :-))

Yesterday, the voice that so lovingly called my little man "Big Guy" was silenced. My child has no more grandfathers walking this earth, but I am so glad for my son that he had grandfathers that loved him so. Rest In Peace, Mr. S. Thank you for your kindness and for loving my child so completely. My sympathies to the family and a special hug and kiss to my son's little brother, who shared a special kind of companionship with his PawPaw.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sadie T. M. Alexander

My black history "shero" for today is my Soror, Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander. Born in Philadelphia, she became the first black woman in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D., earning the degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. However, sexism and racism prohibited her from finding work in her field. Later, she would remember the excitement and precedent-setting occasion of her graduation day and contrast it with the reality of being basically barred from her chosen field: "All of the glory of that occasion faded, however," she said, "when I tried to get a position."*

Undeterred, she worked for a while at an insurance company before re-enrolling at Penn, this time, in the law school. Her successful completion earned her the distinction of being the first black woman to earn a law degree from Penn.

During her successful career as an attorney, her life proved to be a litany of firsts. You can read more about them here.
*Francile Rusan Wilson, " 'All of the Glory... Faded... Quickly': Sadie T. M. Alexander and Black Professional Women, 1920-1950." in Sister Circle: Black Women and Work, ed. Sharon Harley and the Black Women and Work Collective (Rutgers University Press, 2002), 166.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Addie Wyatt

Because I study a meat processing industry, I've spent way too much time reading about the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen Union. One of the stories I encountered in studying the Amalgamated was that of Reverend Addie Wyatt. A meat packer, she worked in Chicago's well-known meat packing industry and was active first, with the United Packinghouse Workers, then, in the Amalgamated, becoming the first woman elected International Vice President of the Amalgamated. Her work would continue in the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Reverend Wyatt is what Robert Korstad would call a "civil rights unionist." Her work reflects her understanding of the interconnectedness of economic, political, and civil rights, access, and opportunity. She was active in civil rights struggles in Chicago.

You can read more about her here and read one of her sermons and an interview with her here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

California's Prop 8 Unconstitutional

First, the good news:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday declared California's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Then, the not-so-good news:
[B]ut [the federal appeals court] agreed to give sponsors of the bitterly contested, voter-approved law time to appeal the ruling before ordering the state to resume allowing gay couples to wed.

"Sponsors" and supporters of Prop 8 have had their way/say for virtually all of the rest of California and U.S. history. What do they need more time to rehash their tired, discriminatory "appeals" for??? Their arguments are not going to be any less discriminatory and unconstitutional months from now.

Not-So-Trivial Trivia

Do you know the name of the first black woman to argue before the Supreme Court and serve as a federal judge?

Constance Baker Motley.

Read more about her here.

Monday, February 06, 2012

I'm Here

I'm still here. Busy, but persevering. Feeling this song. I have a connection with Ms. Celie, after all.

"I'm Here"

I don't need you to love me
I've got my sister, I can't feel her now
She may not be here, but she's still mine
'n I know, she still loves me
I've got my children, I can't hold them now
They may not be here, but they still mine
'n I know
I know I still love them
Got my house
It still keeps the cold out
Got my chair
When my body can't hold out
Got my hands doin things like they s'post to
Showing my heart to the folks that I'm close to
I got my eyes though they don't see as far now
They see more 'bout how things really are now
I'm gonna take a deep breath
I'm gonna hold my head up
Gonna put my shoulders back
And look you straight in the eye
I'm gonna flirt with somebody
When they walk by
I'm gonna sing out
Sing out yeah
I believe I have inside of me
Everything that I need to live a bountiful life
With all the love inside of me
I'll stand as tall as the tallest tree
And I'm thankful for each day that I'm given
Both the easy and the hard ones I'm livin'
But most of all
Yes I'm thankful for lovin' who I really am
I'm beautiful
Yes I'm beautiful
And I'm here
Yes you are, you are here.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


"Nobody's free 'til everybody's free." -Fannie Lou Hamer

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Happy Black History Month!

So I am a day late with the greeting and as a historian, I am vaguely ashamed of myself. But I have been working on a presentation that I am giving tomorrow about black women activists. I think, for Black History Month, I will highlight some of them here. First up, Maggie Lena Walker, who drew on her belief in the power of community and mutual aid to convince her neighbors to invest in what would become the St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank. The bank offered loans to African Americans who were often denied credit at white-owned institutions and helped them build homes, in hopes of encouraging the building of equity in the community.

Read more about her here.
Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...