Category Archives: family tree

I’m a Storyteller but this is Non-Fiction

This is not a fairy or fable.  This isn’t one of my historical reference blogs or a post to honor someone.  This is non-fiction.  This blog is about living the facts of raising two young black men.  My nephews, who are now the ages of 20 and 16.  In particular the oldest who stands a little over 6’1″ with skin stained to the hue of blackberries.

This is about his dubious eyes when I tried to explain I needed to have a conversation about his skin tone and it had nothing to do with science or medicine.  No, it wasn’t me fussing because he forgot to put lotion on his elbows again.  It was about politics and its’ rapacious attachment to control.  The greed of it all and the pretentious stare down the broad of your nose.  The side of politics that tries to keep African Americans comfortably controlled to avoid another time span of collective awareness or us developing a community of critical thinkers.  This conversation was to show him how living outside of himself will keep him hungry.  How, breathing below his intuition will have him comfortable with eating from a blood stained hand that has slapped him repeatedly and then make him feel actuated to say, ‘thank you.’  “I know you’d rather be downstairs playing video games, but I need you to hear me out…’

Continue reading I’m a Storyteller but this is Non-Fiction

future woman leader, my sister Kayla

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My sister, Kayla, loves to sing. I like that her hobbies are singing, dancing and she can paint and draw. When she grows up, she will give the world her gift of singing to everyone. When my sister sings, it makes people feel happy.

Everyone should have a sister like her because when people pick on me at school she protects me. She plays with me every time I’m sad. She loves me and she is smart and playful and nice.

Written by Kyra

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some days i feel like, attallah shabazz

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the oldest child. the one who clearly remembers. I am the one who appears to have “kept it together”. the one sought for direction and clarity.

Attallah Shabazz is the daughter that can silence a crowd with her commanding beauty and strikingly visible resemblance to her father, Malcolm X. Attallah became the artist to this family that was thrown in the political arena. She is a lecturer, playwright, director, producer and performer. She mirrors her art to her father’s message to continue to elutriate ill perceptions. She has found her own voice to preach her own gospel of human rights and self-esteem.

In an interview, Attallah speaks of having coloring books and reading books that depicted persons from black history. She continued, “So when I went to school and parts of me were omitted from history books, I knew the hole wasn’t in me, it was in the books.” Some days I feel like Attallah Shabazz because even though I learned the hole wasn’t me later in life… when I did find out, my art began a path that had a natural commitment to preserving my community and its’ vernacular.

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.