Walking the Talk, Celebrating My Black American Heritage

Of course I didn’t wake up one day and decided writing would be my claim to fame and fortune. While Dr. Spencer Johnson’s parable Who Moved My Cheesedid prompt my literary pursuits, my writing journey began long, long before then.

Without retelling the whole backstory (for the manyith time), my opportunity to seriously write came in 1994, when my father and uncle began producing a family newsletter. The moment I saw that newsletter I said to myself, “this is it” despite living over 3000 miles away from where the newsletter was being produced.

1998 I took on the family newsletter, then called UMOJA TIMES, changed the name to Reviviscence, meaning to ‘revive from whence we’ve come’, and increased its distribution, which ended up being mailed all over the country...and abroad.

To put things mildly, writing for Reviviscence, aka the Rev..., became a coveted writing project of unrivaled proportions, serving many purposes. I LOVED EVERY MOMENT.

Since childhood I’ve been the family GRIOT (so-to-speak); listening to, memorizing and collecting family stories, yet it was during my work with the newsletter... meeting untold amounts of family, in some cases reconnecting family, and in other instances simply introducing family through covering family events; attending the baby showers, weddings, graduations at all levels, change of command and award ceremonies, anniversary parties, birthday parties and of course family reunions and funerals that increased my view, and deepest respect for family.

The Rev... focused solely on GOOD NEWS, what some believed unrealistic but I remained insistent, convinced there were enough negative sources without there being a need for one more destructive influence. In fact, what makes the black American experience so unique from other slave, or chattel type systems and narratives, was not only the forcible uprooting of black Africans from their land, homes, families, language and identities, but far more damaging is the focused and relentless negative statistical information conveyed about black people. The Rev... walked the talk... doing its part addressing what has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for too many black Americans.

In tribute to Black History Month I’m reading and sharing at least one redemptive book celebrating black American heritage... commencing with having just finished reading ‘A Sick Life’ by Tionne Watkins. (thoughts here).