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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:
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.
I have been a fan of Colson Whitehead‘s since I read The Intuitionist. I really enjoyed his latest book immensely. I am doubly excited about the Amazon announcement because the writer/director of MOONLIGHT, Barry Jenkins has come on to help adapt it. So much talent on this project gives me hope it will turn out well.
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
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.
During this month, I have challenged myself to read books by Black authors I have never read. Once such author is Jacqueline Woodson. I read the rave reviews about her work, but I never had a chance to pick up any of her books. Partly because they are considered YA novels. But two weeks ago, I was at the public library and there it sat on the table outside the Adult Trade isle. I took it as a sign and I am so glad I did.
It’s elegantly written, yet sparse prose are heartbreaking. The amazing thing about this book is how Jacqueline Woodson packs so much in Another Brooklyn. She may be economical with her words, but she doesn’t shortchange you when it comes to delivering an emotional and thoughtful story of loss.
I plan to read more of her work. Check out her list of other award winning books here.
As the evening star rises, I want to share my favorite images of Black Love. When I started exploring Black History Month, I was afraid it was always going to be a story of overcoming. Achieving despite the many obstacles in the way. I don’t see love like that. To me love something that should happen to everyone.
So I was afraid, I would only find images of failed love or loneliness. With the exorbitant amount of data about destruction of the black family, the divorce rate, perpetual singlehood of black women and the insane number of black men in jail where was I going to find happy joyous images of black love.
But as the day wore on, the universe showed I have had many examples of it.
Here are few:
Barack and Michelle Obama
The Cosby Show
And my own parents!
My Parent’s Wedding Day
Look, I know I am day late, but I can’t stop thinking about the man. He has been constantly on my mind.
I have had crush on this delightful piece of manliness for long time. I love his music, his style and his bald head. And this weekend, he was in one of my favorite action franchise, John Wick: Chapter 2.
I would like introduce Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr, a.k.a Common
Yesterday was snow day for me, so it was an excuse to read. (Ha! Like I need an excuse.) I spent the afternoon with
There were many stories about the things that we live with that surprised and delighted me. It’s also showed how people of color made contributions great and small. Some of the inventors, I already knew about, like Madame C.J. Walker .
Do you know who Jan Ernst Matzeliger is? Those of us who love shoe shopping ought be grateful to him.
In 1883, Jan Ernst Matzeliger came up with an original innovation that changed how shoes were made. He devised a machine that would sew the sole to the upper of a shoe in about a minute. His “shoe lasting” machine changed the process of how shoes were made by mechanizing a part of their manufacture that previously had to be done by hand and thereby cut the cost of making shoes by half. Amazing!
I recommend this book. it’s filled with great informative stories for all ages!