Black Angry Women

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Black With No Way Out

Life can be a mix of so many things – good and bad and in between. Tellingly, there are times when the chickens, in fact, do come home to roost.

Child abuse is bad in any form. Child abuse at the hands of adults employed by Portland (Oregon) Public Schools is only UNknown by those who truly do not know.

BlackParentSpeaks feels inclined to ‘tell the truth and shame the devil’ as my ‘late’ friend and confidant ‘Black’ Mrs. Matthews often said.

We received the call asking that we attend a private meeting called by the then-Superintendent of Portland (Oregon) Public Schools. We were told that our presence was vital and we were told the location.

Neither Mrs. Matthews nor BlackParentSpeaks knew beforehand the turn that that meeting would take. We had no clue as to what would be revealed at that off-site meeting and, apparently, neither did the then-Superintendent of Portland Public Schools (PPS).

Mrs. Matthews and I arrived at the location early – as was often our tendency. As others arrived – including the then-Superintendent, we were told the ground rules. I expressed that I would be recording the meeting for however long I was able. All who were present agreed.

We were told that changes in staff were being considered at a particular PPS elementary school. US community members and PPS administration persons who were at the ‘private’ meeting were told that staff at the ‘particular’ school had quietly contacted the then-Superintendent with demands.

As the meeting and discussion progressed, we were informed that staff of the ‘particular’ elementary school would be arriving soon to testify in confidence as to ‘why’ their demands should be met. The then-Superintendent said that the promise had been given to school staff that whatever each said in the meeting would be kept confidential. The Superintendent explained that staff was worried about possible retaliation — thus, the need for confidentiality.

The Superintendent asked if I — BlackParentSpeaks — would honor the staff’s request for confidentiality. I responded that I was still going to record the meeting. I did, however, agree to honestly consider the request because I knew that retaliation was a reality.

Staff from the school arrived and the then-Superintendent laid down the format. Each staff member was to speak with us in private – without other staff being present to overhear what was said. The Superintendent also informed all that I – an active and known ‘Black’ community member — would be recording the meeting.

The Superintendent assured staff that whatever each said would be held in confidence by the Superintendent’s office. I expressed that if anyone had problems with me recording the meeting, I would leave. All agreed to me staying and recording the meeting.

One by one each staff member entered the area where we were and told his and/or her story. The stories were ugly and foul. We were told of inappropriate sexual contact between particular staff and particular elementary-school-age-students. We were told of many wrong things at the school, however, the sexual abuse of children was uppermost in my thoughts as I continued to listen. Appalled, I kept my silence as I scanned the faces of all who were present.

At some point, I forgot about the recording and was nudged by Mrs. Matthews as a reminder to continue recording the meeting.

Eventually, we had listened to all the staff who had came to express their displeasure with the Principal and to present their ‘demands’. (As information, every staff person who testified before us was White.)

I proceeded to call each staff member back into our area to answer my questions. My questions included:

l. Did you personally or any other staff member – to your knowledge — ever tell the Principal about the child sexual abuse at the hands of PPS staff at the school?

2. If you are telling us the truth now, why did you deny that such had occurred years ago when you were contacted by the parent and the media regarding sexual abuse by staff at your school?

3. How many other children, to your own personal knowledge, were or have been sexually abused at your school?

4. Why have you waited until now to reveal this and why in this kind of a forum?

5. Did you personally witness sexual abuse at your school?

6. Why did not you stop staff and protect the child?

7. Did you personally or any other staff member – to your knowledge – ever contact the Superintendent of PPS regarding knowledge of the abuses you are now revealing to us?

8. Why did you and other staff decide to deny the abuse and to falsify facts even when one child and her parent went public on TV claiming that such abuse had happened at your school?

9. Has any child at your school ever told you that he or she was fearful of or being sexually or inappropriately ‘touched’ by a teacher or other staff member at your school?

As I asked question after question of each of the staff members, it became more than evident that I was angry and blamed all who had knowledge of the now-revealed sexual abuse. I was not concerned about any of the other allegations – only the sexual abuse of children!

When the school staff was eventually told they could leave, those of us who sat in judgment stayed. The then-Superintendent was also angry and surprised by the revelations; such was stated by the Superintendent to each staff member who testified before us.

If memory serves me well, no one revealed the name of the little ‘White’ child who had reported the abuse to her father so many years ago. I remembered a report on TV – a little child who indicated that she had been subjected to sexual abuse at the school. I vaguely remembered her father – looking angry and then confused as staff at the school denied the child’s allegations. I remembered thinking at the time that surely, if such had happened, at least one of the teachers at that school would have spoken up and defended the child. Instead, all denied that such had occurred – they maligned that little child! Wow!

The meeting I am writing about now was years after the TV news report. I pictured the blurred face of the little child in my memory bank. I recalled the news report on TV. I had no way to know who that child was. I had no way to reach out to that child or her father. There was nothing – absolutely nothing that I could do and I knew that. In spite of that realization, I was angry.

After laying down my demands for CHANGE at that school, we left – with everyone agreeing to my terms.

Sometimes, even BlackParentSpeaks finds herself between a rock and a hard place.

Nuff’ said.

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others. http://BlackAngryWomen.com/

We are all works in progress.

Undying love for Black people!


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Black Integrated Thoughts and Memories

BlackParentSpeaks’ father was a wise Black man of great knowledge and patience. He modeled an ‘undying love for Black people’. Daddy loved my mother and he loved us children. Daddy was our protector in a racist ‘White’ America bent on killing off the ‘Black’ man, ‘Black’ woman, and ‘Black’ child.

My father’s nature fascinated me and often I, while a child, consciously and unconsciously imitated Daddy’s ways and style. My handwriting mirrored Daddy’s and my language and talk and thoughts largely developed by way of Daddy’s teachings.

While I was a child, I marveled at my father’s ability to speak and communicate in multiple languages and ways. I often watched and listened as my father acted as an interpreter in various situations involving non-English speaking folk.

Daddy handled most – if not all – of the Black, Spanish-speaking, Chinese, Russian, and Roma business in Portland, Oregon. And, on a regular basis, Daddy and I visited the home of a non-verbal ‘White’ couple and Daddy handled their business affairs by way of signing. Daddy likewise handled business for people without sight. I was forever and constantly learning while in the company of my father.

My father was not one to wear his credentials on his sleeve. Although Daddy had graduated Colorado College as the first ‘Black’ Phi Beta Kappa, Daddy seldom – if ever – wore his pin. Rather, Daddy’s pin was kept at home in a dresser drawer.

Daddy often explained that it was not important that other folk know that you know something; rather, it is important that you know that you know. Daddy also said other things that have remained a part of my persona throughout my life….

My father was a master electrician, plumber, and more. He liked working with tools and constructing devices. Daddy built a monstrosity of a printing press and we used the press to print business cards, invoicing materials, posters, etc. Daddy liked playing around with numbers and he geared me towards appreciating numbers as well.

Daddy was likely the fastest typist I have ever personally encountered. Initially learning to type by way of my father, I eventually found myself typing over 90 words a minute without errors. But, Daddy was quicker and just as accurate! I enjoyed challenging my father even though I always lost the challenge – smiles.

Because the ‘White’ elementary school in Portland, Oregon that I was forced to integrate did not provide me – a ‘Black’ student — with a language structure foundation, my father stepped in and guided me. Daddy showed me short-cuts in learning language and developing structure. As Daddy had taught me to do with math, Daddy showed me how to check my words, spelling, and sentences. Daddy explained punctuation, complete thoughts, and more. Daddy created challenging word games for his ‘kiddies’ and I enthusiastically played those games with delight.

Similar to my father, I read – and continue to read – quite a bit. Like my father, I also write quite a bit. Often, I write during the wee hours of the night and the early hours of the day. I lean towards conscious communication with our ancestors and spirits during such hours as well.

‘Purpose’ is often lacking in the lives of many. Folk with relatively considerable financial wealth have a tendency to horde, squander, demand, and seek more by way of greed. Solutions to societal ills elude them (or, quite frankly, do not interest them) because their hollow professions of concern lack substance, intent, and wisdom. What many fail to overstand is that today is short-lived and their money does NOT entitle them….

I am reminded of the day when I – BlackParentSpeaks — was so rudely approached by a man of considerable financial wealth and power. Although I was in ‘deep’ conversation with fellow Blacks at the time, the man chose to have several of his employees interrupt our gathering in order to ‘immediately’ speak to me. The man-of-financial-wealth was ‘White’; I am ‘Black’. Needless to say, I REFUSED the man-of-financial-wealth an audience.

The following day, BlackParentSpeaks was again approached by employees of the ‘White’ man-of-financial-wealth and I was offered upwards of a hundred thousand dollars, a car, and a house of my own if I were to accommodate the man’s wishes. Without the slightest hesitation, I refused. Later that day, the man-of-financial-wealth personally approached me. After telling him what he could do with his ‘offer’, I told him that if he ever wanted to reach out and truly ‘help’ in the fight for racial justice, he should again look me up. I have not been contacted by him since….

As I write these words, I smile. I smile knowing that I have maintained my ‘Black’ sense of integrity, involvement, and commitment. I have NOT sold out nor have I hocked my ‘Blackness’.

No, I do not own a home – no money to buy one. Yes, my 20-year-old car is sorely in need of repair and my bank account often hovers at a $10 balance. And, I sometimes make the rounds picking up empty soda water cans to redeem for deposit. Yet, I smile for I am convinced that I was ‘chosen’ (many are called, few are chosen) and I have been – and continue to be — blessed with a ‘purposeful’ life. Black Power!

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others. http://BlackAngryWomen.com/

We are all works in progress.

Undying love for Black people!


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Black Lulu Learns, Swings, and Gets on Base

Travel Forward to the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s….

Growing up ‘Black’ in ‘White’ Portland, Oregon was not an easy task.  The times were such that the racism could suffocate and devour a ‘Black’ spirit.  Some of the ‘White’ businesses posted signs boasting ‘white only’ or some other equally offensive barrier indicator directed at us Black folk.

In spite of the open racism and the barriers put in place by Whites, Black development managed to flourish and thrive.  My ‘Black’ father started and operated ‘successful’ businesses that helped in supporting and sustaining our increasing-in-numbers Black community.

My father’s moving and storage business provided jobs primarily filled by the Black men and Black male youth of the community.  Daddy’s accounting business handled government-mandated reports and forms for the Black community while also supporting Chinese, Mexican, and Cuban needs.  Our family’s second-hand store (The 3 Js) had a rather steady stream of folk and often the store inventory was simply given away.  Our customers included mostly Blacks, Mexicans, Cubans, and Roma peoples.   The 3 Js also housed the humongous printing press that my father built and taught me to operate.

My mother’s multiple rental properties provided shelter primarily to Blacks, as well as Roma and other nonWhites.  My father maintained the properties – repapering walls, painting, replacing windows and doors, changing locks, laying new flooring, handling electrical and plumbing problems, and more….  While a young child, I often tagged along with my father and helped with maintaining the rental properties as I was able.

I remember one Black lady in particular – a lady my mother met on the street.  The lady was an ‘older’ Black woman who appeared alone and homeless.  My mother invited the lady in and my family soon moved the lady into our apartments.  We went shopping for food and other items necessary to make the apartment a ‘home’ for the lady.  My family made sure there was always phone service to the apartment and we took care of all the utilities and more.  My family also provided the lady – whom we eventually came to know as Mrs. Smith — with spending money.

Often, both my mother and I visited with the lady and listened to her ‘words’ and thoughts.  I felt comfortable in Mrs. Smith’s company and I learned a lot.  Always, my mother and/or I checked the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets and my mother and I would stock and re-stock the foods and drinks according to Mrs. Smith’s wants and decided-upon needs and more.  My mother felt really close to Mrs. Smith.  The time was c.1950-1960.

On a consistent basis – sometimes oftener than monthly – Mrs. Smith telephoned our family home and spoke of the government listening to her thoughts and spying on her via the walls of her apartment….  At those times, my father simply packed up supplies – including wallpaper and paints – and we went to the apartment and repapered and repainted the walls to Mrs. Smith’s peaceful delight.  My daddy told me that what Mrs. Smith said could be true – the government could easily be spying on her and others of us.  Daddy advised that we not discuss Mrs. Smith or her whereabouts with anyone outside our immediate family.

Daddy always seemed to have common sense solutions to any and all problems and he always showed patience and overstanding.  My mother and father took care of Mrs. Smith, who stayed in our apartments until the day she ‘gave up the ghost’….

The evolving names of my family’s businesses included the Williams Avenue Development Company, Stroud Service System, Stroud Moving and Storage, and more.  Although Daddy initially ran the businesses from our family home, he soon rented and leased buildings to house our businesses as well as the local NAACP…. Eventually, Daddy moved his businesses into a new building he contracted to purchase.

During the early days of our family businesses, Daddy and Mamacita used the same phone number for our house phone and our business location phone.  However, due to the volume of calls coming in, Mamacita and Daddy had sequential number phones installed at both our home and business locations.  And, as the population of Oregon grew, the number of digits in our phone numbers also increased.

My father was creative in all that he did.  Whether on the golf course daily and walking from hole to hole on his hands or doing pushups on the course while lining up his balls on the greens, Daddy was creative.  The ‘White’ golfers marveled at my father’s exceptional abilities on the course and often challenged Daddy in their veiled attempts to deflate what they perceived as Daddy’s unwavering ego.

Daddy was always a ‘family’ man and enjoyed the company of his children wherever he was.  Daddy often said ‘If I can’t take my children with me to a place, then your Daddy does not need to be at that place….’  Rose City Golf Course in Portland became what my siblings, my mother, and I jokingly dubbed ‘Daddy’s second home’.

Because Daddy was often at Rose City, he often conducted various aspects of his businesses from the club house.  Daddy was adept at all he did and he worked out the details of moving jobs, storage costs, and more by way of the phone located in the club house.  In fact, Daddy was so good at what he did that he seemed to always be on-target with regards to the time needed to complete a job, space requirements for storage and so on.

As a child, there were times when I went along with the moving men on moving jobs.  Although I was a child, I ‘carried’ my weight – lifting and moving household items and helping to pack and unpack the moving vans, etc.  And, at the end of the day, my father gave me the authority to pay the workers and I maintained the receipts and records.  Math was a favorite of mine and I was better-than-good at calculating.

My earliest memories include my father’s teachings.  Daddy taught me how to think.  Daddy taught me Math, English, Science, how to type, how to operate the printing press he had made, and more.  As a result of my father’s teachings, I was somewhat beyond the course offerings at the ‘White’ elementary school my ‘Black’ family was legally required to help integrate during the 1950s.

Integration at Irvington Elementary School in Portland, Oregon was unpleasant at best.  I was a third grader and faced the racial hatred of both the ‘White’ community of Irvington and its ‘White’ parents and their non-thinking and cruel children.

At lunch time, the White kids would open their milk cartons and splash the cafeteria floor with milk in hopes that I would slip and fall while walking in the cafeteria.  Always, when I was ‘allowed’ to get up from my ‘assigned’ seat to get my food, I prepared myself for the inevitable and somehow managed to avoid falling although I was often splashed with the milk thrown by the White kids.

The White adults in the school cafeteria refused to offer me protection.  Instead, the adults laughed along with the White children and encouraged more and more of the children to toss their milk in my direction.  And, at times, one or more of the adults would even dare to toss milk in my direction.  No matter the route I took to the food line, it seemed I was always subjected to such abuse and ugliness in the Irvington Elementary School cafeteria.

I remember my teacher Mrs. Spear especially because of her sheer ugliness towards me.  The White children in my class were relentless in their abuse of me and I attempted to get help from my White teacher, Mrs. Spear.  Needless to say, the teacher proved to be just as abusive in her racial hatred.  Mrs. Spear not only refused to help me, she heightened the abuse and enabled all of the White students to do to me whatever they chose.  Mrs. Spear openly stated that ‘my kind’ should not be going to Irvington School, etc.

Although I was a youngster, I knew that I had to be my own protector while at Portland’s ‘White and racist’ Irvington School.  The daily abuse I was subjected to was forming a knot in my stomach.  I knew that I was on my own and that I would have to do something to stop the abuse both in class and in the school cafeteria.

My father had always schooled me relative to racism.  Daddy had prepared me and he had told me that when I was ready to put an end to the racial abuse at ‘White’ Irvington Elementary School, I would know what to do….  Daddy had explained that he could not be with me daily at school, however, he would support whatever decision I had to make in order to protect myself.

Well, that moment of truth finally came.

One day, after continued abuse and mockery and more in ‘White’ Mrs. Spear’s class, I made one last ditch effort to solicit help from my teacher.  Mrs. Spear not only did NOT help, she pushed me and spoke ugly and uglier words to me while the ‘White’ students laughed and joined in.  Mrs. Spear told the class that they could take whatever they wanted to take from me, etc.

Following Mrs. Spear’s angry push, I stumbled back to my desk.  A White student named John came over to my desk, hit me, and ripped my pencil out of my hand. The lead from the pencil cut into the skin covering my hand.  John and the other White students laughed loudly and began to chant and tease me further.  My teacher Mrs. Spear also showed amusement before glaring at me angrily and speaking more ugly racist words.

As my stomach churned, I reached into my desk and took ahold of my ruler before approaching the ‘leader’ of the racist pack of White students – John.  I politely asked John to give me back my pencil – a pencil my father had engraved with the name of our family business.  John refused, laughed, and spoke ugly and uglier words as he threatened to ‘beat me up’.

In short order, I again demanded the return of my property.  John grew visibly angrier as he balled up his fist and attempted to hit me.  Needless to say, I was quicker and faster as I blocked his punch and simultaneously, as other ‘White’ students moved to descend on me, I took a firm grasp of my 3-edge ruler and swung it across John’s forehead.

The ruler broke off in John’s head and blood appeared to squirt out from his head as John proceeded to fall to the floor.  And, as John fell, I grabbed my pencil from his hand and ran out of the classroom, through the school and out the front door with a mob of Whites – including the teacher – in hot pursuit.

Being fast, I outran the mob and – thank God – my father was home when I dashed through the front door of our house.  I screamed to my Daddy that the Whites were going to “lynch” me because I had killed a ‘White’ male classmate – John.

Daddy calmed me down and assured me that no one was going to “lynch” me….  Daddy expressed that anyone so intent on doing me harm would have to kill him first.  Daddy asked me to tell him all of what had happened.  After that, Daddy took me back to school and we went directly to the Principal’s office.

The White Principal reached out to grab me when he saw my father and I enter his office.  Daddy, however, blocked the Principal’s hand and directed me to sit down.  Daddy sat down next to me as he listened to the hate-filled words the ‘standing’ Principal spoke.

During the course of the Principal’s tirade, the Principal stated ‘we all know John was NOT at fault because John comes from upstanding parents in this community….’  Quickly, my Daddy rose from the chair he was seated in and stood face-to-face in front of the Principal.  Daddy calmly and pointedly told the White Principal that ‘Lulu comes from UPSTANDING parents in this community….’

Near the conclusion of the meeting, Daddy told the Principal that he, my Daddy, was going to buy me another ruler just like the one that had broken off in John’s head.   Daddy then told the Principal that he was again directing me to use the ruler to protect myself if and when needed.  And, Daddy told the Principal that if he – the Principal — or any other White adult ever again attempted to harm me at school, he – my Daddy – would personally handle the adults himself.

Word of what had happened, my reaction, and my father’s response quickly traveled throughout the Irvington community and beyond.  Black adults openly applauded me for my bravery and strength.  My mother – who was ‘fragile’ — feared for my safety.  And, the racist non-thinking White kids at Irvington School decided to leave me alone as they quietly whispered to each other “Lulu is crazy”….

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others.  http://BlackAngryWomen.com/

We are all works in progress.

Undying love for Black people!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Pacific Northwest Racism – Black Death and the Railroad

Pacific Northwest Racism – Black Death and the Railroad

Like so many other places, the Pacific Northwest has its share of racist secrets — secrets that were, and still are, spoken about in private.  I am convinced that there are times when some secrets should be told in order to educate and remind us of the dangers and ugliness of racism.

Yes, I do believe that some secrets should remain secrets; however, this is one truly discomforting secret that BlackParentSpeaks has chosen to share with the readers of BlackAngryWomen.  This is the telling of a horrendous and tragic secret that involved racist Whites and the courageous Blacks who worked on the railroad c.1940s – 1960s.

I have always respected and looked up to my daddy, always.  Daddy was the epitome of what a man, father, husband, and protector should be.  Daddy was a Black man.  Daddy was highly respected and trusted by fellow Blacks:  men, women, and children.

One day, when I was still but a young child, Daddy sat me down in the music room of our big house and talked to me about my tendency of ‘putting him on a pedestal’.

Daddy explained that no man should ever be put on a pedestal and he went into great detail as to why….  That was the day I was ‘allowed in’ by my father – a ‘former’ porter on the railroad.

Daddy said that I needed to know — it might help me to know the truth as I grew in wisdom and knowledge.  That day, Daddy revealed to me what had happened to a fellow Black porter on the train and why he, my Daddy, had early-on quit the railroad.

My father — like many of the Black men here in Portland, Oregon — worked for the railroad during earlier days.  Daddy’s stint as a porter on the train had, by choice(?), been short-lived….

My recollection of what I was told by my father follows:

Daddy explained that a White woman had openly stated that she wanted to have a sexual encounter with a particular Black porter on the train.  The White woman had indicated that the Black porter ‘met her fancy’.  Needless to say, the Black porter ‘of her fancy’ was not interested.

My father and the other Black porters who were working on the train quickly discussed the situation.  They knew there was ‘danger’ in the White woman’s desires.  All of the Black porters agreed that it was best for that particular Black porter to switch places with one of them who had not met the White woman’s fancy.

Daddy and the other Black porters were keenly aware of the White woman’s anger as they politely listened to her racist words directed at all of them.  As the White woman’s anger intensified, ‘word’ soon traveled to all of the Black porters that the White woman had spoken to a White employee of the railroad.

What followed was horrific and I – to this day – continue to shed tears for all of the Black men who were there.  Their lives and other lives were changed in ways that words can never convey.

At an UNscheduled stop, the train came to a halt.  All of the train’s Black employees were ordered to get off the train.  Outside the train was a White mob carrying shotguns and more.  One of the White men in the mob identified himself as law enforcement.  Several of the White men had ‘restrained’ vicious dogs while others carried shovels.

The train’s Black employees were ordered at gunpoint to take the shovels and dig.  The hate-filled racist voices from the White mob grew louder and louder and all kinds of ugly language and comments were shouted at my father and the other Blacks.  The train’s Black employees did as they were ordered to do.

Eventually, the Black men were told to stop digging.  Soon after, one of the train’s White employees stepped forth with the White woman whose sexual advances had not been reciprocated.  The White woman was asked to identify the Black porter who had, according to her, attempted to sexually advance on her.

The White woman pointed to one of the Black porters and that porter was ordered — at gunpoint — to jump into the hole that he and the other Blacks had dug.  Protests and denials meant nothing to the White mob as they lunged at the Black man and fired shots in the direction of my father and the other Blacks.

Once the identified Black porter was standing upright in the hole, my father and the other Black men were ordered to fill the hole in with dirt.  Again, shots were fired and the still-restrained dogs continued to bark viciously.

When the dirt covered all but the neck and head of the Black man in the hole, the Black employees were ordered to stop filling in the hole with dirt and to step aside.  At that point, the restraints on the wild dogs were loosened by their White handlers.  The dogs wildly charged at the man in the hole and proceeded to rip-off and chew at the head of the Black porter who had been identified by the White woman.

My Black father and the other Blacks who worked on the train that day were forced to watch.  My Black father and the other Blacks listened to and heard the agonizing screams and cries coming from their fellow Black porter – their friend.

Following what seemed like an eternity to my Dad, my father and the other Black employees on the train were ordered to completely finish filling in the hole.  Daddy and the other Black employees were told that if they ever told what happened to anyone, they would meet a similar fate.

————-

(BlackParentSpeaks must pause now to wipe away the tears and to offer up a cry to God and our Black ancestors….)

————-

Being so young, I asked my father why he did not do something – why didn’t he speak up and stop the Whites from doing what they did?  Daddy explained that the Whites (including the White employee of the railroad) already knew that the Black porter had not done what the White woman had claimed.  Daddy said that there was nothing that he or any of the other Blacks could have done….

Daddy said that he and the other Black employees of the railroad made a pact to remain silent upon their return.  He explained that the Black man had a family here at home and that they, the Black porters, agreed to simply say that the man ran away with other women along the train’s route.

I have thought about and wrestled with that secret for many many years.  I have thought about that Black man and all of the Black lives that were destroyed and damaged that day.  I have wondered how many other Black men ‘supposedly’ ran away while working on the railroad.

My father chose to quit the railroad.  My father maintained his silence about what occurred as did the other Blacks who worked on the railroad.

I was allowed ‘in’ on the secret and it seems that the other Blacks who worked the railroad felt a degree of peace knowing that I, too, knew the secret.  Over the years, I listened to and learned from the Blacks who worked on the railroad – sometimes they spoke of that and other racist incidents they endured as Black employees.

Please be advised that for Blacks ‘working on the railroad’ came at a real price.  Both remaining employed and quitting took true strength.

BlackParentSpeaks dedicates this writing to the memory of all of our strong Black men and women who worked on the railroad during the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s….

Undying love for Black people!

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others. We are all works in progress.

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

Do YOU know what time it is?

 

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Black Enough Is Simply Not Enough….

Black Enough Is Simply Not Enough….

All questions have answers – even if you do not know the answers or do not like the answers.

There is seriousness in jest.

Being resilient does not mean that Black people should ever forget our horrendous and inhumane enslavement by Whites. Black resilience does not mean that we portend to not recognize racism.

Black people have been — and are –oppressed as a race; we do not have the choice or the luxury of individualism.

Black unity does not mean Black uniformity.

I have been asked if the end justifies the means. My answer is ‘No’. It is the ‘means’ that justify the end.

We who are Black should not be forever in the mode of, without compensation, teaching White folk about race and racism. I am tired of so-called White ignorance and the pretense of race ignorance coming from White lips. I am tired of the multitude of excuses made for racist White folk.

Racism is ugly and dangerous. Racism should not be excused or tolerated. And, if White folk or others want an education relative to what racism is and more, they should expect to — want to — pay for that education.

Reactions and responses to BlackAngryWomen have been both educational and reflective.

One of the more recent ‘Black’ interventions involved a racist posting in the workplace. In that situation, the White supervisor quickly apologized in writing to the Black employee, removed the racist workplace posting, etc.

BlackAngryWomen commends the Black employee – a ‘Black’ woman – for stepping forth, expressing her anger in writing, and making a difference….

‘As long as there is breath, there is hope….’

Be Involved!

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others. We are all works in progress. Do YOU know what time it is? http://BlackAngryWomen.com/

Undying love for Black people!

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Black Is….

‘Black’ C. Sumner Stone Jr. (Chuck) said that ‘sometimes it takes White folk to politicize Black folk’. ‘Black’ Queen Mother Moore reminded us Blacks to ‘never forget our reparations’. BlackParentSpeaks urges us who are Black to ‘be informed, be aware, and be involved’. The Christian Bible admonishes some of us to ‘shake the dust from our boots and keep getting up’. There is wisdom in first feeding milk to a baby….

Blacks who are borne of Black mothers are Black. Blacks who are borne as a result of biological Black fathers are Black. No matter how many times or ways White folk attempt to narrow the defining of Black folk, we are Black. And, each of us should relish our Blackness and the responsibility and obligation that come with being Black. Undying love for Black people!

Contrary to ‘official and legal recordings’, my daddy was born in 1904 on Indian Territory on land later known as Chandler, Oklahoma. My father’s mother was 100% ‘Creek’ Native. My father’s father was Black. My father and all of his siblings knew they were Black – even my father’s ‘Native American’ biological mother knew that she had birth Black children! My father never shied from his Blackness; and, he fought long and hard against White racism.

As a Black child, my daddy regularly saw fellow Black peers herded together by adult Whites and left bloodied. As a Black child, my daddy watched in fear as adult Whites entertained themselves during weekend drag races at the expense of Black children who were bound to the back of racing cars. Daddy was protected ONLY because his mother had the foresight to hide him by covering him over with potatoes in the potato bin….

While a student in the White man’s elementary school, my daddy was forced to stand before the entire student body at a school assembly and apologize for having been born Black. My father was told that he had no choice in the matter lest his mother be made to suffer further at the hands of the town’s good White folk. During gym time at the elementary school and while playing a game of baseball, my daddy was purposely hit over the head with a baseball bat swung by a White classmate. Although my father was knocked out, not even a reprimand was given to the White child who loudly boasted that he – the White child — should get a medal for trying to kill his Black classmate – my father. On a daily basis, my Black father was pelted with rocks thrown by fellow White classmates and their White parents. This daily atrocity continued until my father’s uncle took a shotgun to the mob of Whites. Tellingly, my daddy never again set eyes on his uncle … ‘nuff said’.

Daddy saw his own Black ‘minister’ father terrorized and tortured and eventually blinded by a White doctor….

My daddy — a strong Black child — grew up to become a strong Black man who employed ‘undying love for Black people’ in all he did…. Daddy grew up to OVERstand the impact of slavery on the Black man, Black woman, and Black child. And, my daddy knew that Black people should never trust White people – plain and simple.

Like so many Blacks did at the time, Daddy travelled west to Oregon during the 1940s – lured by promises of a ‘better life’ and a less ‘hate-driven’ White community. And, contrary to official and legal recordings, I – Daddy’s daughter — was born in Vanport (name reflective of PORTland, Oregon and VANcouver, Washington). Whites, believing they have impunity, have falsely recorded history and events at will. I am a Black survivor of the 1948 Vanport flood.

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Some of the ‘interjected’ truths I share here include the following: Whites have pleasured themselves at the expense of Black people while claiming to love all of God’s children. (Do Whites ‘not’ see Black folk as God’s children?) White people have feasted off of Black suffering while creating and promoting visions of ‘strange fruit’. White people have a legacy of unbridled ugliness and worse. Whites are guilty of the unimaginable and they have reared up their White children in like fashion.

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Shortly before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to Tennessee on the second trip that ended with his death, Dr. King came to DC to meet with a small and intimate body of us Black folk. As expected, I recorded that meeting, etc.

Although I will not go into detail, one of the things that troubled Dr. King was ‘whether or not, in fact, White people had a conscience’…. Dr. King expressed that if he outlived Tennessee, he would have to give serious thought to the question because his – Dr. King’s — whole nonviolent stance was based and predicated upon White people having a conscience….

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But I Don’t Want To Be White!

But I don’t want to be White!

While I was a young child, my mother was approached and she agreed to allow our family home to be used for the training of ‘selected’ Black females in the Portland, Oregon area.  The ‘trainers’ were Black women who knew the ways, dress, styles, etc. of White women as a result of working in the homes of White folk.  The training provided was to make us young Black females ‘White like’ in our ways, tastes, and more.

The Black women who provided the training sessions were ‘pillars’ of Portland’s Black community.  The young Black females who had been ‘selected’ for such trainings were carefully hand-selected by the trainers.  These identified young Black females were expected to grow in refinement, etc. so as to enhance the uplifting of Blacks specifically in the Portland area.  I, the youngest of all, was expected to be included in the sessions only because the sessions were to take place in our family’s relatively large and spacious home located in the Irvington district of northeast Portland.

The day of the first session at our home soon arrived – as did the ladies and the ‘selected’ young Black females.  The ladies wore hats and long gloves signifying refinement and culture and the seriousness and importance of the sessions.  We, the trainees, were ushered to our seats around my family’s long dining room table.  My mother – a fabulous cook by heart — had prepared a meal for all to indulge in following the session.

The ladies proceeded to explain to us the reasons for the trainings and what they expected our futures to look like.  My mother stood by and listened with appreciative anticipation.  She felt privileged that her home had been chosen for the sessions. Mom had never been a part of the Black social scene or so-called upper-crust happenings in Black Portland, therefore, to have been asked for the use of our home was a privilege in her eyes.

Following the talk session, the actual training began.  As I listened and observed the training routines, I knew that what was happening was not something I wanted to be a part of.  I was directed to stand up and began; however, I refused to get up from my chair at the table.  A couple of the women inquired as to whether I felt ill; I responded with a simple “no”.  My mother appeared puzzled and stepped forth as she asked me what was wrong.  In panic mode I responded with “But I don’t want to be White”.

The ladies laughed and chuckled before imploring me, again, to do the routines the other young Black females before me had done.  Again, I responded with the words “But I don’t want to be White”.  The ladies looked back and forth at each other and then back and forth at me.  They again expressed that it was important that I and the other young Black females learn to be White-like in order to uplift ourselves in the eyes of White folk.  They again explained that our futures would be greatly enhanced because we would be acting like White women….

In my young mind, although I knew why the Black women felt such a need, the why did not override my refusal.  I repeated my infamous words “But I don’t want to be White”.

Finally, my mother – who was very angry as a result of my refusal to participate — ordered me to get up from the table and to sit on the floor.  My mother explained that the seats at the table were for the young women who were participating in the training.

Even though I wanted to leave the dining area, my mother said that I would sit on the floor during each and every session unless I agreed to participate in the training.  I sat my buns on the floor and leaned my back against the French doors which separated the dining area from the entry-waiting area in our home.  As I sat there, I listened and observed while thinking thoughts that I dare not put to print in this blog.

A couple of the women implored my mother to not be angry with me.  They told my mother that I was probably too young to fully understand….’  One of the ladies continued to look back and forth at me as she spoke lovingly about ‘Little Lulu’s stubbornness’.  My mother, however, was quite upset with me and I knew that I would be in ‘real’ trouble once the ladies and the other young Black females left our house.

To my mother’s angst, I repeatedly sat on the floor in the dining area and I consistently refused to participate each and every time the training sessions were held at our house.  Always, the ladies gave me opportunity to participate and always I responded with the words “But I don’t want to be White”.

Many years later, I learned that my ‘young’ refusal to participate and my words “But I don’t want to be White” became the never-ending ‘talk’ amongst our Black adults of the time.  And, I was accorded special respect and admiration and made privy to much as a result of my wisdom and refusal to become White-like….

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