Reflections. Life. History.
Recently I started working on Shades of Color’s Black History Facebook page. I really enjoy reading about the different first African Americans to pioneer hope in America. People from all walks ranging from founders, sororities, leaders, activists, pioneers, scientists, musicians, performers, inventors, award winners, athletes, entertainers. As you can see our influences crosses all categories.
It is inspiring to uncover the first African Americans to make history.
It took me back to so many of my real life experiences that I remembered in my teens and young adult life. I reflected on the time in 1965 when the Watts Riots were going on. Seeing all the troops walking down our neighborhood with guns. (Yes! In my neighborhood). Although you were not directly involved you still felt unsafe with them there.
It made me reflect back to events from my junior high to high school and college years.
I thought about my feelings when I was the first student in my class in junior high to hear over the radio in the main office of the school that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. I ran back to class to tell my teacher. She thought I didn’t hear it correctly. Only because it had not been announced over the PA system yet.
I reflected on the time I met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at my junior high school.
I remembered vacationing at my girlfriend’s home in Memphis, TN, and going to the M.L.K. museum.
We saw a homeless lady seated across the street from the Lorraine Motel. My girlfriend told me stories about how the lady said she was there when Dr. King was shot.
I remembered visiting the church, Mason Temple, in Memphis, where Dr. King spoke the night before he was killed.
Then there were times when I would reflect on how my family, (my mother, uncles and grandparents), must have felt and their life experiences with the changes they actually saw from when they were younger. Especially with them being from the South.
I reflected on my cousin serving in the Pearl Harbor war.
I reflected on, when I met Alex Haley standing in line at May Co. at the Crenshaw Mall. He even autographed my copy of his book, “Roots.”
I thought back on when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, when I called my 80 year old uncle in Louisiana to ask him how he felt about the first black president. Did he think he would ever live to see the first African American president become a part of history? (By the way he said “NO!”)
I reflected on when we went to Motown Records in Detroit, MI. and thinking, 'Wow so many of my favorite singing artists walked and stood where I was standing.'
It has been a valuable work experience reading and understanding how many before us made things better, loving and easier for this country. It is such a positive feeling to read how much of an impact WE have had in history.
Although many suffered much pain and disrespect they gave back. They sacrificed and died for the love and respect of this country.
But still their efforts were not enough. Even today, we strive to be equal or at least respected as people of color.
There is so much history in the Shades of Color calendars and it has been like reliving my life history of events by bringing them to life on Facebook. I really enjoy posting these facts and accomplishments and seeing them come up every day on my newsfeed.
My wish is that our followers and calendar customers will also feel just as enlightened. May those who have witnessed some of these events reflect on their own experiences and the choices they make to better this world for our children and their children. And may those who have only witnessed recent events take time to reflect on the sacrifices of those who came before them. We have come so far, yet so much still lies ahead.
-Written by Christine Parker
(Editor: Janine Kai)