For Those Who Educate Us

I think I just read one of the best books ever. ‘The Undiscovered Paul Robeson’ by Paul Robeson, Jr. (thoughts here) certainly will be a hard act to follow.

For starters, for anyone new to dropping by OEBooks, I used to hop-scotch over reading the relic books about black life in America. It just seemed like each book, one after the other, got more challenging... the reason why today, those stories that contain redemptive qualities that balances the hard parts of life are my preference to read. Reminds me of something Brigitte Griffin mentioned in her and her husband's memoir 'Behind the Laughter'. When things were going swimmingly she always waited 'for that other shoe to drop'. Well, when reading one book after the next containing so much grief, I looked around for relief. 

Interestingly enough, I finally picked up Robeson’s biography (only on my DNF shelf for years) and was not disappointed. Paul's son, the author, left an invaluable parcel of history. Takes me back to a grade school teacher explaining the three main human groups; Mongoloid, Caucasoid, and Negroid, before delving into how all humans originally came from one group—the Negroid. 

Without more context, this statement alone didn’t mean much. But I leaned forward when the teacher went to town, honing in on the properties of primary colors and describing how geographical influences such as the sun, wind, temps, food and elements native to the geography where ‘migrating’ people’ settled changed genetics. It dawned on me then, this teacher ...this educator was not talking about mating or ‘melting pots’. She was describing an event that happened an itinerant eons ago... like before man learned to eat with his hands, without the aid of his feet. 

Fast-forward to when I moved to Europe where I lived in Germany for a few years, and for the first time actually experienced European and African black cultures, and how Europeans and Africans (as a whole; black and white) reacted to seeing black Americans. It was all a surreal feeling (mentioned in Robeson's biography); though my surprise was largely augmented by the fact that this was the 80’s, a time when I assumed black Americans had already been introduced around the world. 

Back home in America I paid a lot more attention to people and places where I traveled …reading more biographies… listening to what the history and anthropology experts were saying… and collecting these insights to gain a broader understanding of culture overall. 

Perhaps most prescient is examining the past hundred years… and today’s ever changing culture. Honestly, this is what makes honoring Black History Month as celebratory and relevant. 

Happy Valentine's day. Hope the Superbowl is a win-win for all. And blessed are all the educators teaching people how to eat for a lifetime.

#JustReadAGreatBiography #BeingMyValentine #SuperbowlSunday #BlackHistoryMonth #JustBlogged


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