Category Archives: alabama

nothing like it, for peace and justice

20180711_105519.jpgI have visited the majority of the civil rights museums in the southeastern states. The Center for Civil Human Rights in Atlanta, Ga. and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN are two of my favorite. This past spring, in Montgomery, Al., a space opened that is the first of it’s kind in this country. “The National Memorial For Peace and Justice is the nation’s first comprehensive memorial dedicated to the human loss suffered during the era of racial terror lynchings, which swept across the south and beyond in the decades following the abolition of slavery.”

 

The memorial is a collection of work done by the Equal Justice Initiative, identifying more than 4,000 African American men, women, and children who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. This space was haunting. In the same breath, this space made me feel like another piece of me had been reconciled.

Until now, lynching had been painted in songs, danced about in novels. The impact of seeing 800 steel monuments inscribed with crimes of lynching, some detailing the reason why, presented a different sentiment. While this is a space that uses literature, sculpture, art and design to tell its’ story, there was no rhythm or pace to it. There were no perfectly fitted color patterns or designs, it just happened. There was no spell check, no correction of verb/noun agreement, the art at this memorial lends escape to no one. This space brings name to the thousands of men, women and children who were hideously and violently murdered for mere social transgressions and some from absolute innocence.

There is tons of history in Montgomery, Al to see. So planning a trip to this memorial is not the only thing you will be making time for. This is a must for anyone seeking reconciliation against violent crimes committed against African Americans in this country. This is a must see for anyone seeking retribution for human justice.

Continue reading nothing like it, for peace and justice

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On This Day You Made it To the Mountaintop, Remembering Dr. King

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

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Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

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some days i feel like, sonia sanchez

sonia sanchez

moon face full of stars.
little woman / soft voice with cursive connotations.
serendipity back
and universe hugging
woman of literature.

my love for her is beyond words.
adoring / fond / attached like a new lover.

even though she is associated with the black arts movement, she is one of those artists who have walked through hip hop with us. her words have survived the linguistic flips and inspire/challenge writers today. she joined blues music with her poetic styles of tanka and haiku. she is the key of b sharp.

she is award winning and legendary and highly sought after for lecturing on women’s rights and literary topics.

I am writing this as if everyone knows where she was born and who she was married to and how many books she has, etc. if you don’t know… look her up and land in love with poetry and prose. over. and over. again.

sonia sanchez, one of the reasons I have realized/actualized I must write.

some days i feel like, Amelia Boynton Robinson

**I ORGINALLY POSTED THIS IN MARCH 2014. I just learned this civil rights leader passed this morning at 104 years old.  I appreciate what she did for humanity, civil rights and women. Rest In Peace Amelia Boynton Robinson**

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There are some terms that I believe society would love to be eliminated from the vocabulary and one of them is suffrage. Other terms or movements have taken significance over the once very popular term of saying women’s suffrage. This plight was simply blended with other movements. But some days I feel like there is more to me than just occasional recognition.

There are so many photos of African Americans who dared to change society during the Civil Rights Movement that go without being named. Like this woman:

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Perhaps the photographer knew of her importance and that is the reason why this photo was taken. Maybe as a message of intimidation for anyone who dare let her inspiration move them. Her name is Amelia Boynton Robinson, and she was pivotal in the planning of many of the civil and voting rights protests in Selma, AL. As a matter of fact, her home was used by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and James Bevels just to name a few, as an office space to organize Selma’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. On Sunday March 7, 1965, protestors attempted to make a trek to Montgomery, AL for a demonstration on voting rights for African Americans. The above photograph illustrates why this day has been termed, “Bloody Sunday”. Around 600 protestors were choked by tear gas and beaten with billy clubs by police waiting on the other side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they crossed the Alabama River. For many years, she was the unnamed woman in the photograph that was beaten unconscious. Once again, her name is Amelia Robinson Boynton.

Prior to becoming involved in the Civil Rights Movement, she was active with women’s suffrage. She also went on to become a playwright and lecturer. Some days I feel like Amelia when ALL I do is a part of everything, yet goes unnoticed. Today I recognize Her and give thanks for Her nurturing contribution to the movement that has granted me many opportunities.

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CCC (Commemorate, Celebrate, Continue)

“This is not just a commemoration or celebration, it is a continuation.”
Reverend Al Sharpton, March 8, 2015 – Brown Chapel in Selma, Alabama

Fifty years seems like so long ago. But as long as my mother and her siblings are alive, I must consider it to be this lifetime. It is still this lifetime as long as we still have provisions that need reauthorization by law officials for all racial minorities to vote fairly. Today, fifty years can be five years ago or easily five nights ago. March 7, 1965, or Bloody Sunday, is the day I imagine they went home and re-thought this demonstration and protest lifestyle. Perhaps some quit while others said, ‘I won’t stop until I have the right to vote and walk this bridge without being harassed.’ And that night, just as Nat Turner saw it written in the sky years earlier, all of their dreams and all of their wishes were of me. Of us. What are we going to do? Continue reading CCC (Commemorate, Celebrate, Continue)

some days i feel like, Rosa Parks (by Kayla)

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Rosa Parks was born Feb/4/1913.her place of birth is Tuskegee, AL.
Parks was a civil rights activist. Rosa maiden name is Rosa Louise
McCauley.and we all know that she refused to give up her seat for a
white person.Her full name is Rosa Louise McCauley Parks. Rosa died
Oct/24/2005.

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Written by Kayla

a Request for Autonomous Dialogue

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A day of being a critical thinker. Just to spend one night on a spirit filled preserved slave plantation in Mississippi. I wonder what the autonomous dialogue would be? What would the title of the article be? Take a ride atop the bone filled Atlantic Ocean and write a poem… write a song… Like James Baldwin, I just have this simple request for autonomous dialogue on white history from a black history perspective.

rural me

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Ors Jacques was my paternal great grandfather.  He was half African and half French/Canadian and somehow made his way down south and fell in love with my paternal great grandmother from Birmingham, Al., Willa Mae.  Together they had six children and found their way to Omaha, Nebraska where they reared them and the majority of their families still reside.  She was his second wife.

I’ve always had this strong fetter with the south and have been fascinated with the simplistic beauty of rural life.  Us city folk buy nicely crafted flower pots and arrange them for balance in our yards and porches.  We re-fresh our curio cabinets with the seasons new symmetrically cut vases and treasured memoirs from recent travels.  And we call it home.

The homes on the rural back road yards are decorated with rotary mowers that stopped in that very spot some 40 years ago and now house the annual bloom of black eyed susans in April.  A garden of fall vegetables grow in the back yard near the separated garage every year.  The porch houses coffee cans of “particularly” favorite flowers such as tulips and mums.  The chipped paint on the homes reveal their age just as the rings on an oak tree.  And then there are the songs, and sometimes screams, that command the wind.  These and the trees.  Church bakes and the lakes.  Wooded water pales and old wives tales.  I’m finding pleasure in tracing my family tree.

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My great grandfathers’ family has been traced from Wivelsfield, England to Canada to Iowa to Alabama to Nebraska.  And it was easy to go back as far as the 1700’s to find them.  I look forward to finding when the name changed from Jacques to Jakes.  It appears to have happened somewhere from Iowa to Alabama.  Now my great grandmother… I can’t get past her mother in 1892.  Where does she come from?  Did she know?  That is why that rural part of me loves the south.  Because there is so much to learn and hear.  And imagine.  Turning the dirt is like shaking a bag of bones to tell your fortune or in most cases, explain your past.

I have a covenant to write of the south to encourage people of color to speak a resolve within themselves of not knowing where and who.  While many probably don’t even think of it, I believe this is a part of our psychological warfare that effects our mental health.  While I will continue to trace my family in England, I will also continue my love for the rural south and listen for the voices of my families names of Nash, Michaels, Browns, Clays, Curtles and Mills.

diary: from here

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Another day “from here” with snow still spread on our lawns and the kids are in the house with a major case of cabin fever. They are so desperate to get out of the house they are willing to go see “Frozen” at the movies. At their ages of 7, 9 and 11, cartoons are a complete waste of my money! They just need to get out! We have a little sunshine so the snow and ice should no longer be a threat on the roads. We are still now plagued with the frozen tree branches falling and breaking power lines. Please let us get through tomorrow…

I created a calendar for me to submit my new plays to contests, etc. My ten minute play, Son Unknown, about Virgil Ware has to get out into the world! The only thing preventing that is ME. Keeping it saved on my laptop under the folder “writings”. He has been a secret for too long! I have to get this script out there. If all works out, it will become a short film by the end of the summer. I get to sharpen my scriptwriting chops! That is what I studied my MFA for! Very exciting for me to be able to see this script come to life on stage as well as film 🙂

The film process will make me tell the story visually. With that, I am planning a 3 day trip to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and parts of the Delta in Mississippi. I need to record the trees and streets and some other visual clips that can be shown in the film. Last time I visited Mississippi, my short book came to fruition. What will come of this journey?…

Only I stand in the way of my works not being read in coffee shops, libraries and book stores. Move over Nik!

“You don’t have writer’s block, you just don’t want to tell the truth.” – Nikki Skies