AS

Too Much

Beloved,

These are awful times. Pandemics of biological, ideological, and political origins. Strange things are happening. I hope some of them will be for the best.

What is wrong with Wisconsin? I used to think of Wisconsin in very positive terms, even thought of moving back there…no more. My memories of my best friend girl, of Willem (who will always be Billy to me), of Larry U and the music, of the pig and dairy farms, of brats roasted in the ground, of theatre class, horseback riding. So many good memories. Wisconsin’s state motto is Forward. Why have they become so backward?

My precious son said to me last night that I should write my memoirs because I have lived an odd life for a Black woman in America. I’ve never been one to talk about myself. No need for a key light. Had enough attention when I was youngster with a hard body that dirty old men lusted after. People often wondered why I wore my hair short and sported oversized clothes. Silly women who wanted me to conform to the look of the day would call me son as if that would make me change the way of looking I chose for my own protection. It isn’t a good feeling to have Sheriffs cruising you as you walk home from elementary school.

My mother was a remarkable woman. Not one of the silly. Working-class, conservative in the way of Protestants, a Texan, a praying warrior. Daughter of an itinerant preacher and a very young mother, she was orphaned and raised with her brother by a maiden aunt who seemed to have had a cruel streak. Nevertheless, she did not let my mom and her brother go to an orphanage. We took care of our own, even if that care was not always the best.

Fortunately, Mom had a fighting spirit. She got out of Texas by dint of hard work. She was educated in the deep South in the 1930s and ’40s. She could read and cipher better than many of today’s so-called graduates. She was educated by Black teachers who cared about her success. They knew the road would be long and hard and they wanted their students prepared as best they could be for the struggle that was and continues to be Black life. Mom passed the love of learning to me. She encouraged my tendency to stick my nose in a book. She taught me how to use my hands to craft things, garden, take care of myself and my surroundings. She taught me to question everything. She raised me to be self-reliant. She did not pass on the abuse from which she suffered and escaped as soon as she could. Always kind and patient, she was the best friend anyone could ask for.

Mom grew up post-Depression. She knew how to save a dollar. She didn’t believe in frivolity, but she knew how to have fun. We would make our fun, dancing, listening to music, cooking, growing collard greens and flowers. Just the two of us. I learned a lot from Mom, but I never learned to like cornbread and buttermilk. That is one of those country meals you ate when there wasn’t much else. It was filling and seemed to have plenty of nutritional value. I much preferred biscuits (homemade) and syrup, you know, sopping!

I learned to live simply from my Mom, so what I’m living in today is disturbing. All this greed and self-centeredness. People who haven’t a clue of who they are because they can’t take the time to look within. Everything is externalized. All this need for representation and validation from sources that could care less about any of us. If I had grown up with these needs, I likely would not have grown up at all. No one represented Black folks except Black folks back in the day. Always separate. We had our own films, our own music, our own everything. We were linked by our exclusion. We were much closer to one another then. We were togehter in the struggle.

We are coming together again, but we are still divided. The class divide is greater. Many of the working-class have no love for the Black elite and the feeling is mutual. No matter my level of education, I have always identified with the working-class, the proles. Sorority sisters irk me. Frat bros are sickening. I digress.

There’s a march on Washington today. The message is vote. The message is make demands. I’m down with all that, but I think much more will be required to make a change in this peculiar time through which we are living.

Peace, Beloved.

AS

Trojan Horses

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke of trojan horses used to smuggle in the status quo. Kamala Harris is the second trojan horse.

More disappointment. More bamboozling. More disrespect.

Where’s the policy? I need no more lofty promises about light and love. I need a revolution.

AS

Disappointment

I no longer trust my government leaders. There is no one looking out for the “little guy” at all. There is no one looking out for this country in a time of pandemic.

Binary relationships are inherently weak because it only takes one to withdraw and cause the edifice to topple. Think conventional marriage and the extremely high divorce rate. Our binary party politics are useless for the little guy. Bunches of rich people are not interested in the issues of the little guy. Their interest is their own pockets which they will continue to line with the blood, bone, and sinew of the working-classes, the little guys.

Our government needs overhaul. Why, in the time of pandemic, are the people being made to suffer? Eviction, hunger, illness, debt, death in a pandemic. Didn’t anybody read The Plague?

Go back to work, in a pandemic. Send your children to school, in a pandemic. Recognize the coercion. Fed unemployment benefits cut off to force people back to work. Small businesses, the backbone of the economy along with our 70% consumer spending rate, are dying, dead, many unlikely to come back.

Freedom and rights are challenged by requirements to wear masks?

Where am I living? THIS is America? What a dump.

AS

Recommended Watching

Still on my mission to increase awareness of history. Watch Civil War: The Untold Story, released in 2014. I found it on Prime, but it is likely available through a library. It is a 5-episode documentary narrated by Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey), an odd choice I thought. This is the first time I’ve heard this war story narrated by a woman.

If you can find the 1957 film Band of Angels, you might have a look at it as it also has the Civil War as backdrop. Sidney Poitier portrays Rau Ru, the right hand, or Claw of the man who saved him from death during a slave raid of his village in Africa by Hamish Bond (Clark Gable) the captain of a slave ship. The story centers on Amantha Starr (Yvonne De Carlo), the daughter of her white father and slave mother. Manty is born fair enough to pass for white, so her father raises her to be gentlewoman, sending her away to finishing school. However, her father dies and Manty is sold in a coffle as she has been outed by the woman who beguiled her father and took his money. Like Gone With The Wind, this film is beautiful and if you watch it you will see the tignon Black women were required to wear over their hair.

Also, on YouTube, watch and listen to Dr. John Henrik Clarke. You’ll be glad you did.

Peace, Beloved.

AS

Conditional Emancipation

Just a note on that 1863 Emancipation Proclamation: Black freedom was conditional upon the surrender of the Confederacy by January 1, 1863. As the Confederacy did not surrender, Blacks were declared free. The word didn’t reach the furthest reaches of what was then the West, Galveston, Texas until 19 June 1865, because southern planters wanted to get as much work out of their slaves as possible before it became mandated that they had to treat them as paid employees.