So I failed…Except on day 15

At the beginning of February, I stated I was going to blog about various things I would be learning throughout Black history. I made it to day 13.

I felt like a failure for weeks. So much of a failure that I gave up blogging right through March.

However, I had a moment of clarity while talking to a friend about how much I much loved

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I was mid-rant about how she had to see this movie, how amazingly well-acted it was and how it made me face some my own internal stuff.  When I realized that I had made it further then I thought. Working on the project made me try and go see things that I never I did before. If I had not made the effort to blog, I probably would have not gone to see this amazing film in the theater. Or danced and shouted like crazy person when it when Best film at the Oscar’s.

I saw it on day 15.

Now, I have decided to keep going. I am going to share all the stuff I learned. I booked marked everything so no reason not share.

Blogging through Black History taught me one fundamentally truth, if you don’t seek the  various reflection of yourself,  You won’t notice when your reflection is starting back at you.  I want to see myself especially in a world that seems to want to pretend that I am not here.

This week in Reading…

This week, my TBR list grows courtesy of Granta’s BEST OF YOUNG AMERICAN NOVELISTS issue. Granta is quarterly literary magazine.

I am happy to say, there are 5 writers of color on the list. It breaks down like this:

Authors I have never hear of:

Author I have been meaning to get to:

And one author I would highly recommend:

Homegoing

Homegoing is inspirational debut novel about the troubled legacy of slavery in this country.  Each chapter follows the parallel paths of  two sisters and their descendants through eight generations:from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.

Happy Reading!

More Poetry…

Robin Coste Lewis reflects on a black female education in this poem from her National Book Award-winning volume, Voyage of the Sable Venus.
Art & Craft
I would figure out all the right answers
first, then gently mark a few of them wrong.
If a quiz had ten problems, I’d cancel
out one. When it had twenty, I’d bite my tongue

then leave at least two questions blank: ______ ______.
A B was good, but an A was too good.
They’d kick your ass, call your big sister
slow, then stare over your desk, as if you’d

snaked out of a different hole. Knowing
taught me—quickly—to spell community
more honestly: l-o-n-e-l-y.
During Arts and Crafts, when Miss Larson allowed

the scissors out, I’d sneak a pair, then cut
my hair to stop me from growing too long.

Discovering poetry…

You may or may not know it’s National Poetry Month. I signed up for poem-a-day newsletter to celebrate. It’s fun way to rediscover old classics and be introduced to new voices.

One such new gem is Airea D. Matthews.

Swindle

                               -Trenton, NJ 1977
Learn the suits, Ace:
a club looks like a three-leaf clover
a spade is an upside-down heart
a diamond looks like two kissing triangles
a heart is a goddamn heart.
A hand is five cards:
one card, each finger.
The ace is the highest.
Then the head cards:
King, Queen, Jack then
count back by 10—
that’s the rank.

 

                         Got it?

 

Bring a Barbie doll,
something to play with.
Circle the players from afar.
Eye your sneaky Uncle Clayt,
nigger tucks cards under his cuff.
Pull on his sleeve, ask for a hug.
If it feels stiff, say you’re thirsty.
Don’t crawl under that table,
‘less you want a gun in my mouth.
Don’t sniff the powder on the felt.
And boy, don’t touch the chips;
they’re worth more than you.

 

                            Understand?

 

Aim for loose play,
every motherfucker’s hungry.
When the game is tight,
stakes get too fat, too quick.
You’ll lose before the draw.
Spy those hands, Ace. Tell me
what you see. Scratch your chin,
rub your nose, pull on your ear;
we got a code:
                                   Eat.

 

Thing is that ace is tricky,
hinges on what’s held;
it can play high or low.
A full house ain’t shit.
Bend the straight.
Fuck a pair.
Fear that flush.
If you see those head cards
in order with the same suit:
grab your baby doll,
go to the bathroom,
flush the toilet twice,
stick one finger down
your throat,
bloat your cheek, run out,
force lunch on the table. Say:

 

                                  Daddy, my head hurts.

 

We make dust, baby girl.
Only lose what little you left.

TBR Tuedays

Reads from around the world, now in bookstore shelves and my TBR list!

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Kintu is a modern classic, a multilayered narrative that reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan.

 

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“A tale of a rivalry between two well-to-do widows and next-door-neighbors in South Africa…On the surface, author Yewande Omotoso presents a war of wits, but the story also addresses the history of colonialism, slavery, class and race as tensions come to a head.”Time (25 Female-Driven Books, Movies, and Shows We Can’t Wait to Get Our Hands on in 2017)

 

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“A classic tale of wealth and moral ruin.” —The New Yorker

Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings—and consequences—of financial gain in contemporary India.

 

 

Day 18 of Black History Month — NYC Edition

New York is my favorite place in the world and it happens to be my hometown. I am pretty luck in that way. When I travel, I realize how much of blessing and curse it is to be from here.  Surrounded by a vibrant culture, ever-changing skyline, and everyone’s side hustle, I forget NYC is place layered in history.

3 facts I learned about my hometown during the month:

  1. Weeksville was a nineteenth century free black community located in what is now the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. It was one of America’s first free black communities.  Within this community, the residents established schools, churches and benevolent associations and were active in the abolitionist movement.  Check out this video to learn more.
  2. Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton was the first African American to play in the NBA, making his debut with the New York Knicks in 1950.
  3.  Discovered Audre Lorde (yes, I know I am late to the party) while reading the untold stories of the phenomenal women who made New York City the cultural epicenter of the world in THE WOMEN WHO MADE NEW YORK

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      “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Day 17 of Black History Month

Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable

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Founding Father of Chicago

He was a Black pioneer, trader, and founder of the settlement that later became the city of Chicago.

Du Sable was from St. Marc, Sainte-Domingue [now Haiti]. His French father had moved there and married a Black woman. DuSable is believed to have been a freeborn. Around the 1770s, he went to the Great Lakes area of North America, settling on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River.

The British arrested him in 1779 for the defiance of the crown, and took him to Fort Mackinac. There he managed a trading post called the Pinery on the St. Clair River in present-day Michigan, after which he returned to the site of Chicago.

By 1790, Du Sable’s establishment had become an important link in the region’s fur and grain trade. In 1800, he sold out and moved to Missouri, where he continued as a farmer and trader until his death. But his 20-year residence on the shores of Lake Michigan had established his title as Father of Chicago. Jean DuSable died Aug. 28th 1818 in St. Charles, Mo.