April Fun in Louisiana

Blue gradient Louisiana map, USAI’m thinking about going to visit family in Louisiana and I’ve come across two festivals that might be just right: Franklin Parish Catfish Festival and the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.

I’m thinking:

  • Fly into New Orleans
  • Drive over to Baton Rouge to check out the birth certificate of my great, great grandmother.
  • Drive up to the strawberry festival on Friday.
  • Head on over to the catfish festival Saturday.
  • Spend a few days with our loved ones.
  • Head home.

I’m wondering if that would be safe for us to do. I’ll call my relatives in the area and ask them. I’d hate to wander into an unfriendly area.

Earrings for Toddler

ear-piercing

Since our baby girl is still in foster care (we hope the adoption will finalize this spring), we have to ask permission to get her ears pierced. I’ve gone back and forth about it since some folks think putting holes in a person without their permission is cruel and/or unsafe. I have weighed how she might feel about it in the future versus how I grew up, and how I hope she gets to experience community.

My ears were pierced as a baby so wearing earrings is all I know. When I was in middle school, a friend talked me into getting an extra hole. I made it all the way down to the piercing place, but couldn’t go through with it. I’m scary. Lol I’m super glad that my parents had my ears pierced as a baby or I’d be stuck wearing clip ons (ouch!) or magnets (double ouch!) or stickers that are made for children.

We’re gonna get ’em pierced and hope that she appreciates it in the future.

Anyhoo … the real point of this post is about what kind of earrings we should buy. I see articles suggesting something without nickel and other suggesting specific metals like titanium or 14k gold.

Anyone have any advice? What kind of earrings should we buy? Also, where do we get it done? I asked at our pediatrician’s office and they said that they don’t do it.

 

Doing a DNA Test as a Black Person

Map-Africa-west-african-six-regions

I’ve have been playing around with the idea of getting DNA tests for us. I saw this video of Michael K. Williams finding out that he was Mende from Sierra Leon and I was overwhelmed.

When I started digging, I wasn’t so sure what to think. This guy is Igbo from Nigeria. He took a DNA test to see how accurate they are.

When I dug a little deeper, I read this:

The Gentleman is told he comes from the Ashanti people. That is a BLATANT LIE. Ashanti is a FEDERATION of African people same as the USA is a federation of Caucasians. Therefore, just as someone cannot use DNA to prove one is an American citizen likewise someone cannot use DNA to prove they are Ashanti. Therefore for the report to come out and claim the recipient is an Ashanti shows clearly, it is a lie and the DNA report is not worth the paper it is written on.

You will find in DNA tests for white Americans, the report classifies them as Caucasian instead of British German, Irish etc. The report should read the same for black people in America. European in America are a MIXTURE of different European people. The same is true for black people in America. They are also a MIXTURE of African people. Therefore, instead of saying the person is Igbo, Yoruba, or whatever (which can be misleading) the authentic DNA should read: black African.

Hmm …

If you already know that you’re Black, should you get one of these DNA tests? I already know I’m Black so what more will the DNA test show me? Is this all a hoax, a scam, a bunch of lies told that people that are trying to prey on our feelings to get to our wallets?

What say you?

 

Furqan’s First Flattop – a book for Black and Latino kids

As a Black and Mexican person with a little boy with an afro with will some day be cut into who knows what kind of style, I look forward to reading this book to him. Better yet, he and his dad can read it together. =)

Furqan Moreno wakes up and decides that today he wants his hair cut for the first time. His dad has just the style: a flat top fade! He wants his new haircut to be cool but when they get to the barbershop, he’s a bit nervous about his decision. He begins to worry that his hair will look funny, imagining all the flat objects in his day to day life. Before he knows it, his haircut is done and he realizes that his dad was right — Furqan’s first flat top is the freshest!

“Furqan’s First Flat Top” is a bilingual children’s book about the love between and father and son, reassurance, imagination, and of course a “flat top”. If you would like to purchase a copy for your library, classroom, office, or home please go to FurqansFirst.com

African Town in Mobile, AL

African-Town-Mobile-Alabama

This town was founded by the last group of Africans to be smuggled into the country and enslaved in 1860.

Did you know that the last ship to smuggle in Africans to be enslaved, the Clotilde, in the United States was in 1860 near Mobile, Alabama? SylvianeDiouf.com says:

In the summer of 1860 more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 children, teenagers, and young adults from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent William Foster’s ship, the Clotilda to Ouidah in the Bight of Benin, on a bet that he could “bring a shipful of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers’ noses.” He won the bet.

Did you know that once here they tried to get back home (they sued Meaher and they tried to go to Liberia with other freed peoples) but were unsuccessful so they banded together and lived, worked, and created community in what they called Africa Town. HistoryBuff.com says:

Members of the group petitioned the government to return them to Africa but were refused. Lacking other options, the group amazingly managed to stay together and settled near Mobile. They worked odd jobs, slowly accumulated some property, and finally set up an independent community they called Africatown. They elected leaders, set up a judiciary system, built a school for the town – all while continuing to observe their original cultural customs. They even bestowed both African and Christian names on their children and taught them the language of their homeland.

Eventually, they made a life here.One of the most prominent figures was Oluale Kossola because he lived long enough to tell his story to ethnographers like Zora Neale Hurston.  Union Baptist Church even has a Cudjo Lewis Memorial Statue. According to AL.com:

The cement statues were destroyed by vandals in March 2011 after being donated in May 2007 by filmmakers Thomas Akodjinou of Benin and Felix Eklu of Togo.

In their place, Battles envisions, a monument similar to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., listing the names of everyone who was aboard the Clotilda.

“(Lewis) live longer than the rest of them and that’s why he got all the notoriety,” Clark said. “But there were a lot of other people who had leadership roles.”

Below is Zora Neal Hurston’s interview of one of the last survivors in 1928,Oluale Kossola (also called Cudjo Lewis):

Since we’re talking about people in the south, I need to mention African Village. Joe Minter created a sculpture garden that covers the history of Black people in the US. The NY Times says:

Artists like Mr. Minter, she said, emerged “during that transition of coming out of sharecropping and doing a variety of jobs during Jim Crow.” Now, Dr. Hanna added, “that snapshot of life in often rural Alabama — that is leaving us.”

Yet the African Village receives no grants, no institutional support and practically no publicity. The folks who make a pilgrimage to the Minters’ little brick-faced house — maybe 300 in a year — come following rumors and stories and pictures on the Internet.

Still, to his mind, Mr. Minter is not alone. His yard show is a homeland for all 11 million Africans shipped off as chattel to the New World. And the pieces exist to tell their story over the centuries, from the griots and warriors of West Africa to the four girls murdered in the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963.

History is all around us and we must pass this information down to our kids. If you’re ever in Mobile, Alabama take a heritage walk and share the history with your family.

American History

American-History-Timeline

Not sure why they are saying that segregation ended in 1954. The law is one thing. What actually happened is another. I’m reading My Soul is Rested and they are talking about fighting for civil rights into the 1960s (1964 and 1968 civil rights acts were passed) and right on into the 1970s. If you take a look at Black Lives Matter, we’ve been fighting the same things since emancipation: peonage, railroading by the legal system, the right to walk down the street without being assaulted, etc.

I Carry Her All the Way to Freedom

Underground-Preacher-Moses-with-daughter-Boo-Babywearing

Moses wrapping his daughter, Boo from the show Underground.

I know you’ve been watching Underground but I’m not sure if you understood what a huge moment it was when Moses fashioned a baby carrier out of material, threw Boo in it to show Pearly Mae, and said, “I carry her all the way to freedom if I have to”. Very rarely in big or small screens do we see Black men showing such tenderness toward their children.

Underground-Preacher-FamilyYou know how much I’m into babywearing. This scene made my test tight. Here was a Black man saying that he would not leave without his wife and child. He would carry his baby (she had to be around 7 years old) more than 600 miles if he had to. In my neighborhood, I see Black men at the park with their kids, at the grocery store with their kids, and everywhere else they could be ….  with their kids. Research studies have proven that Black fathers are more involved than other ethnicities in the day-to-day lives of their children. I rarely see it on tv or movies though.

Good job, Underground. Good job.