Skip to main content

A Tribute to My Cultural Heritage

In recognition of Black History Month, traditionally celebrated in February, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the jewels I keep with me that allows me to admire and appreciate parts of my heritage.

For many years, particularly when I was younger and learning about many famous pioneers taught in school, I used to wonder about what significant historical contributions my ancestors had made. And yes, I heard (and read) about Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglas, Dr. Drew and a number of other admirable individuals, but I was looking for something that would transcend any doubt that I ought to be very indebted to the brown skin I'm in.

Now, it didn't all come to me at once. I had to piece many dated resources together and really think about the fragments I appraised, before the picture came together. Once it did, I needed to survey no more.

It was that journey to America, and the natural substance of my people who survived that voyage. Nothing is more pronounced in my remembrance of my cultural heritage than the gems I've taken from their constitution.

So, I revel in the eating collard greens, primarily enchanted by a story I read about how, or what lead to this leafy delicious plant introducing itself to black sharecroppers.

Music and dancing is a large part of my rhythm; you know, the 'storytelling-writing' rhythm I credit parts of my heritage for passing down to me. 

I've been touched by this rhythm in many, many others too; two sources straightaway coming to mind. For some reason I'm thinking of Patricia Neely-Dorsey's poetry book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia. Where the Southern man gets his stroll is the poem humoring my mood. 

I'm also reminded of this African dance group who performed at the Smithsonian that awed me. The group performed this tribal dance where if you were watching as carelessly as I was, you'd swear it looked mimicable. I tried it, and almost didn't get to stand up straight afterwards. The program also included an African ballet performance; a routine I didn't dare try to mimic. In fact, when the floor later opened up for freestyle dancing, I wasn't the only one who shied away from the dance floor.

I also long ago stopped being bothered about being corrected on ax'ing for stuff. I'm honored to have this word still among my vocabulary, now appreciating where it originated. In fact, I try to perfect on the pronunciation, grateful there's still such a mannerism.

Which brings me to this do-it-yourself I got going on. I realize many people, of any culture short on nickels and dimes, resort to doing things themselves. In my case however, I know just where this gene matriculated. I know of people in my background who let nothing go to waste. Heck, I just looked left a sec ago and came up with another idea. I'm thinking there's a pretty good chance I can turn a few of them clear plastic laundry garment covers in my closet into a fairly voguish raincoat!

And oh, one of my latest, now highly favored quotes: "I would rather be ignored than patronized..."  – Condoleezza Rice

What, however, is most inspirational about my heritage, is truly and deeply appreciating people who are a part of me. This is what makes it an easy appreciation to read and learn about other cultures, and to 'recognize' and 'respect' the many similarities.... -the pain, the triumphs, the struggles, and the humanness and contributions we individually and collectively symbolize.

I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. 
I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed. - Ralph Ellison


  1. Excellent piece of information, I had come to know about your website from my friend krishnan, chennai,i have read atleast 8 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanx a lot once again, Regards, bob marley quotes


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Rumor About One Race

It’s a funny thing, how some things you hear stay with you in that sixth sense sort of way, as if the information will serve some future purpose.

True Story. I was in elementary school when a teacher got to talking about three true races—Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negroid, and how one day there would be One Race. For a placeholder I attended Philadelphia (PA) Public Schools, K-straight thru-12 (99.98% black student population) where there was always ‘that’ teacher who would put aside a textbook to impart ‘move to the edge of your seat’ information... something I later figured out would take “dynamic positioning” to find its originating source. I even think the teacher may have said we wouldn’t find this information written anywhere.

At any rate, I’m all kinds of fuzzy about how the original three races came to be, but recall 3rd grade hands going up in the air asking why this and how that and what about this, and then somebody saying, “unt un... my mother said...”

Naturally I was intr…

When Opinions Cross the Line

Two literary topographies brought this historical commentary together; a social media Headline asserting some books are irrelevant, and Stacey Dash’s memoir, ‘There Goes My Social Life’. (My other thoughts here).

I didn't pause long enough to so much as note the social media headline, but did pause after catching wind of Stacey Dash's outspoken stance on supporting American businessman and Republican politician, Mitt Romney. Stacey is an American Actress notable for her role in the film CluelessSIGH—I’ve never seen Clueless, but have seen this actress in other films... which was what inspired me to want to read her memoir. Being a Big Picture thinker, I couldn't make heads or tails out of the hoopla behind her outspoken political views.

My great-great grandfather, born in America in the mid 1800’s, was a Republican. Per my father, historically the American working class primarily voted Republican, though he, and then me, marveled about my great-great grandfather's r…

What Makes a Book Feel Good? ...A Top 10 List

When you it’s said... live and learn, you learn LOVE comes in stages. So far, I’ve come across three stages of love. Puppy Love. Hormonal Love. And the ultimate love. Unconditional Love.

Lo and behold albeit, after finally getting around to reading Roy Blount’s memoir, “Be Sweet” (a memoirist who has at least twenty some years on me), I got to reading him summarizing unconditional love as ‘just an expression’ ..."like any other two words." Now, because his memoir is largely satirical, and given the title, on top of knowing better to think I know more than my elders (haha), it was hard to tell whether to take the definition seriously or facetiously. Whichever the case, as of today I define unconditional love without conditions. Unlike puppy love, built largely on a giddy childish infatuation superficially marveling over things or people, or that hormonal love responding to the cyclones and ebbs moving our hormones in this invisible like cylinder, there are no ifs, ands…