Thursday, April 9, 2009
Reclaiming My Southern Roots
"After generations of separations and decades of forgetfulness, the mention of the South brings back to our memories ancient years of pain and pleasure. At the turn of the twentieth century, many African Americans left the Southern towns, left the crushing prejudice and prohibition, and moved north to Chicago and New York City, west to Los Angeles and San Diego."
That is an excerpt from Maya Angelou's book, Letter to My Daughter, "a short collection of spellbinding essays--part guidebook, part memoir, part poetry and pure delight." The title of this post and all excerpts come from one of the entries entitled "Reclaiming Southern Roots."
"The climate which the immigrants imagined as free of racial prejudice was found to be discriminatory in ways different from the Southern modes and possibly even more humiliating."
In Reclaiming Southern Roots, Dr. Angelou writes of our ancestors emigration from the South to the promise of better lives to be lived in the North and the West, and the return of these immigrant's decendents (like me!) to the South, because of their "memories...of Southern summers, fish fries, Saturday barbecues, and the gentle manners of Southern upbringing."
I am ashamed to say that I've never read Dr. Angelou before. I never believe the hype! How sorry I am. I read this entire book in one sitting--in less than two hours. It is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.
"when I walk in, they may like me or dislike me, but everybody knows I'm here."
This one's a must read. Sista's got skills. Check out an excerpt here.