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.


Lovebabz said...

Beautiful post Sister!

I have this book haven't started reading it yet. I loe the Good Dr. angelou. Now go and get I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. It was profoundly life changing!

I am looking to the south in ways I've never done roots are there. I went to college in the south. But I believe I will return and live there.

Lovely post.

The Real Ginger said...

I most certainly will! Thanks, Babz.

Brent Leary said...

Thank you for giving me a peek into Ms Angelou. I too must admit to not reading her poetry. I may just have to do so now because of this post.

If you haven't already done so yoou may want to check out W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk written back in 1903. He to "had skillz".

Thanks again!

The Real Ginger said...

Skillz pay the billz! Thanks for the recommendation, Brent. I'll check it out.

Bruce said...

Hearing your acknowledgment of growth is beautiful...I have read everything she has put out. Hopefully she and you have more writing in you!

The Real Ginger said...

Thank you, Bruce!