Black Handshake – 26 November 2016
The moment we are born, we begin to die. BlackParentSpeaks overstands the truth of that statement.
I was young once upon a time and intimately and boldly entrenched in the Black ‘Movement’ for justice and freedom. I fought the good fight and I fought it hard and long…. Fear did not change my involvement or commitment to righteousness. ‘White’ laws meant little — if anything — in comparison to right and wrong/justice and injustice. Unselfish service and sacrificial loyalty helped in guiding my actions and thoughts. BlackParentSpeaks assertively lived a purpose-filled ‘Black’ life. Today, in the twilight of my years, BlackParentSpeaks continues to live a life firmly embedded in ‘Black’ righteousness and justice — Don’t forget our reparations!
God blessed me in more ways than I can ever fully enumerate. Amongst my first blessings was being born ‘Black’. My parents did not smoke, drink alcohol, or cuss. They were faithful to each other and they had a good marriage; I can only remember them arguing on one occasion as information. During my childhood years, my father was my go-to person. My ‘Black’ father – Daddy – was always encouraging and supportive no matter what I did or did not do.
I was always a serious child — full of energy and curiosity. As a c.3-year old, I sometimes ventured out on my own, got lost — but I never felt fear or uneasiness. Usually, the Portland (Oregon) Police would find me and an officer would lift me up, sit me on his motorcycle or in his car, and take me to the patrol house. I became quite familiar with the Police — even as a young child. My boldness was something to behold and the Portland Police treated me with the respect and admiration my personna demanded.
I liked going to the Police precinct for a number of reasons. The officers called me ‘Little Lulu’ and I enjoyed conversing with them just as I enjoyed conversing with other adults. Because I enjoyed singing, I often belted out songs while wandering the streets of Portland. And, when the Police did find me, I oft-times offered to sing them my ‘signature song (Search Me Lord)’ — but only if they got me a chocolate ice cream cone. Needless to say, the Police always obliged my request although on one occasion an officer made a mistake and brought me a vanilla ice cream cone which I immediately rejected. The officer who made the ‘mistake’ was quickly admonished by the other officers and told to go out and get ‘Little Lulu’ a chocolate ice cream cone as she requested…. On each occasion, I only sang AFTER I had received and eaten my chocolate ice cream cone — smile.
My father never fretted over the person that I was. In fact, he encouraged me to be me. Daddy’s only caveat was that I realize and consider the possible consequences of my actions and inactions. Daddy also told me that it is better to do something than to go away and later wish that you had done something…. And, Daddy schooled me on the difference between ‘Black’ thought and ‘White’ thought as well as the difference between ‘White’ folk and ‘Black’ folk.
I grew up working in my father’s multiple businesses. Daddy’s businesses included accounting, moving and storage, sales, painting and wallpapering, etc. Daddy was an electrician, a plumber, an inventor, a printer, a writer, an unbelievably fast typist, a scientist, a runner, a golfer, a coach and referee, an educator and tutor, a pianist, and MORE. On top of everything else, Daddy was an exceedingly good cook — although he dirtied way too many dishes when he cooked meals at home. It seemed like there was nothing that my father could not do.
Daddy lived an ‘undying love for Black people’ life. He valued loyalty and overstood what ‘truth’ really meant.
My father’s parenting skills were phenomenal. It seems that he always took great delight in his 13 children and he believed in the power of explanatory words and patience. The chatter of young voices and the patter of children’s feet along with the laughter and seriousness were welcomed by Daddy.
Daddy was a man of immense overstanding and knowledge. He listened and he engaged me and my siblings and others in countless activities and pursuits. Early-on, Daddy saw my ‘Blackness’ and he guided and schooled me accordingly.
My father expressed particular beliefs and values that continue to resonate with me to this day. Example: A man should never hit a woman. ‘If a woman holding a baseball bat comes at a man, it is far better for that man to try to run away than for that man to put his hands on the woman.’ Example: Man is human. ‘Never put any human being on a pedestal.’ Example: Do not get ‘caught-up’ in the accolades nor the criticisms.
Being an adventurous and curious young child, I sometimes asked Daddy when I would be old enough to finally leave home and personally explore the world. Daddy’s response: ‘YOU will know when you are ready to REALLY leave home and your father will know as well….’ Life, for me, was serious and I listened with my eyes, ears, and heart.
‘Little Lulu’ appreciated and valued the experiences and stories shared by her elders and others. I heard the older Blacks as they spoke of racism — slavery, drag racing, and more. I listened and I felt and I contemplated.
By the time I reached the age of 16, I knew I was truly ‘ready’ to leave home — as did my father. I took the train and traveled alone from Portland, Oregon to California. From California, I traveled with others — via car — to Michigan. Although I considered remaining in Michigan, I chose to return home a few weeks later in order to complete my high school years in Portland.
While still in high school, I received an unexpected and unsolicited job offer from US Attorney General Robert Kennedy. My moving expenses and more would be covered if I accepted Kennedy’s offer. Needless to say, I was excited and sorely tempted, however, Daddy convinced me to turn Kennedy down. Interestingly, years later I received an offer to work for Robert Kennedy’s brother — Senator Edward Kennedy. I turned down that offer as well….
Don’t forget our reparations! Do YOU know what time it is?
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Undying love for Black People