The efforts to dispel the teaching of Critical Race Theory in America’s schools and the significance of the history regarding the arrival of my ancestors to Point Comfort (Hampton, VA) in 1619, compels me to republish the article below. Family, please consider my views by reading it for the first time or revisiting, reflecting upon it and most important, reacting on its content, to EMPOWER
As an elementary school and high school student, my recollection of lessons regarding the history of beautiful Black and Brown People was spoken as one stitch tightly tucked in a quilt wide enough to cover a nation. My engagement and enthusiasm about my history were consistently challenged with the presentation of historical content that, in many cases, falsely captured the essence of African (Black) Americans. I have always been very proud to represent the dominant culture I embody. However, the ability to answer the charge to Say It Loud,” I’m Black and I’m Proud,” had very little to do with my formal education until I began my studies at The Virginia State University. It was during this season of my life; I met a very outspoken, opinionated, comical and brilliant professor, the late Dr. Oscar Williams. Dr. Williams taught U.S. History with conviction. He was determined his students would be fully aware of the culture, traditions and contributions of all people, particularly those he mirrored.
Dr. Williams’ astonishing intellect and unpredictable humor began to Empower me to acquire as much knowledge as possible about who, when, how, why and what purpose led us here. The beginning of our story is accompanied by a myriad of emotions that distress my heart. The reality of who we are and what we have accomplished despite every form of oppression possible continues to EMPOWER my soul. With the movement of time, my experiences in life and how I perceive them rest in the roots of my heritage. Repeatedly, I hear my people reference how important it is for one to know from whence they come.
While listening to a message proclaimed by Sarah Jakes Roberts, I was reminded about the Self Determination Theory. This theory supports the necessity of people to feel competent, connected and autonomist. I believe this theory serves as a variable that transitions to a significant level of Self-Empowerment. In addition, African (Black) Americans who are knowledgeable of the depth and authority of our mere existence and inherited esteem can also enable power in others. The Pride of “A People” is best manifested through the perception of ourselves, control of influence and healthy connections to others.
I find joy in all I have learned about my since of Empowerment as an African American Woman. This wealth of knowledge has inspired me to bring forth history lessons to others that are too often forgotten. I encourage you to join me in this journey. Take the time to further explore who you are. Share your factual finds of inheritance through culture with your family, children, friends, co-workers and all who are willing to grow. Recently, I shared passages of personal Empowerment through a Spoken Word Musical Track entitled “We Remember 1619.” This electrifying release modestly proclaims the story of “A People” from our arrival in 1619 in Hampton, VA (it was not Jamestown!) through the Black Lives Matter Movement. This invigorating track, produced, composed and arranged by Yasha Barjona (AKA Rahni Song) and featuring Bill McGee on trumpet and Verrandall Tucker (a descendant of the first African born on this soil, William Tucker (1624)) on bongos, with a history lesson written and spoken by yours truly, will make you dancelike no one is looking, while being Empowered by the sacrifices and accomplishments of “A People”…Chosen.
Prayers of Empowerment through Peace, Wellness and Love,
Writer – The National Black Unity News and BITTY Mag