I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Inspired by @questlove: I'm Black. Here is my History...Part 1

Questlove had a Wikipedia link to tell his story. I on the other hand am not famous, nor do I wish to be but I do want to tell my story or more importantly my grandmother's.

I was born in 1976 to two unmarried parents. My father at the time of my birth had two children all ready and another child due in March. My mother had no other children.

I was raised by my maternal grandmother until the age of 8 in a small rural town in Louisiana.

I mention my grandmother often because her strong often brutal personality is instilled in me. Her moral compass is my moral compass. (I tried many times to stray away from her strict upbringing but each time has ended in unexpected consequences)

My grandmother was born September 1, 1921 to my great grand parents. She was the youngest of two children. Her nickname to most people in our family was "Little Sister." 

Her older brother (by four years) Nathaniel, died at 19 of food poisoning in a rooming house at Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute. Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial was eventually renamed in 1946 to Grambling State University.

As you can tell by the dates, Little Sister was 8 when the Great Depression begin with the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Because my family was/is rural, they were and weren't isolated from the effects of the economic downturn. (for more on the lives of African Americans during the Great Depression go Here.) 

I tell people that farming and teaching are in the blood and it is true. 

Little Sister graduated from 11th grade high school at age 15. There was no 12th grade at the Negro school she attended. After, graduation from high school, she attended Louisiana Negro Normal. She graduated at age 19.

You would think a 19 year old college graduate would be able to walk into a classroom. Unfortunately, she was a Negro. There were only a few spots for Negro teachers and she had to go onto a list. Her first job out of college was as a maid.

She eventually moved up the waiting list for a classroom. Finally receiving her own classroom. She begin teaching and was in the classroom until her retirement in the early 1980's.

She eventually married my grandfather. (He died in April 1976 before I was born in August). She had my mother at the age of 35. She had a still born child at the age of 37. She had my uncle at the age of 39.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not black, but I appreciate hearing about diverse stories and think the telling of our stories will help to make this a better, multicultural nation/world. I study anti-racism and wrote some essays about it: http://joycedowling.com/antiracism.html