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This site was created by Nicholl McGuire, Inspirational Speaker and Author. Feel free to comment, share links and subscribe. If you have a business or would like to guest post feel free to contact. Check out topics on this blog and select what interests you. They are found at the bottom of this page. Peace and Love.

Wednesday

"Go Play!" Thinking back to summer vacation...

It's that time of year --summer vacation-- and the children are out in full force! Okay maybe not in full force thanks to all these gaming systems nowadays. Summer vacation usually makes me have a few flashbacks like spending summer time down grandma's house in Pittsburgh during the eighties.

I heard "go play" often, because it was too hot for everyone to be in the same house together. That's right, the same house even being in a different room sometimes was too crowded because you best believe someone was going to come in and crowd you out with their noise whether turning on the TV or talking loud on the telephone! Take for example, you are in the kitchen helping yourself to something in the fridge and dare you forget to wash your hands, not only were you going to get cussed out for not washing your "nasty hands" but you were going to be told to, "Get on outta here...didn't I say go play!" So off you went to play jump rope, hopscotch, freeze tag, bike ride, play jacks, or (if your parents had a little money to spend) you were at your local amusement park or a cookout.

I needed to "go play," because I think my folks woke up with attitudes! They could have had a bad dream, still mad about what happened the night before, or what they still had to do that morning or night. I learned to get lost, because I didn't want to be accused of anything, be cussed out, or given something to do that I didn't want to do. So while I'm told to, "Go play!" I'm also called back to do something. One summer, my dad had bought a three-story apartment complex and told my sister (who was only about 7) and I (about 11 at the time) to help more often. We were seriously treated like maintenance people. We were expected to coordinate the tools he needed, clean up afterward, bring supplies to him, and whatever else he needed to complete a project. He wasn't a professional so any task he did took all day and sometimes all night. I can't tell you how many times we saw the sunset working with him while listening throughout the day to the neighborhood children outside laughing. I admit I was jealous. When we finally got to go somewhere it was usually our annual visit to a local amusement park or to see his folks down south who talked slow and worked in fields. The bulk of the summer was spent either watching TV or watching someone else watch TV until I became a teen and got smart -- sign up for summer programs that required leaving home!

Anyway, there were those times when summers got exciting with gunshots fired in the background while staying in the hood with grandma. "Someone doing something they wasn't suppose to" was all I heard when I asked, "Why?" Sometimes it became difficult to "go play" when the neighborhood was shook by a fire, a death or someone's child dying. Sometimes "go play" was in the next room and you know you had to be quiet, because if you didn't there was going to be some drama in a hot house (no air conditioning) and if you know anything about black folks, you know being hot puts us in a bad mood! American blacks ain't accustomed to Africa -- okay!?

Anyway while we are playing and taking a break here and there to drink cherry or grape Koolaid, eat a sandwich, or whatever was given to you (oftentimes there was no choice if grandma ate neckbones, black-eyed peas, and cornbread or some other food that wasn't "fun" that's what you ate or "don't eat then!") adults was cussing and fussing about something or laughing usually about what someone looked like. The summertime always brought out made up clowns with cellulite thighs, mountains for butts, ashy feet, and all sorts of weird smells covered up with some cheap perfume or cologne. While the adults talked about "getting your butt in the tub and soakin," I was thinking, "I hope you plan on getting your stanky butt in the tub too!"

Oh those summer, summer time memories....

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Laboring to Love Myself.

Friday

African American History - Reasons to Learn Black History Even If You Are Not Black

If you are not African American, chances are you may not know about the part African Americans have played in shaping this nation. Yes, you are aware that a long time ago slavery existed in this country, and perhaps you've heard of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., but does your knowledge stop right about there? If so, I humbly suggest to you that you've been cheated! From inventions and medicine to warfare and back breaking labor, blacks have been an integral part of building the United States of America.
Tell me, did you put sugar in your coffee this morning? How about on top of your cereal? Thank Norbert Rillieux, who came up with the technique for changing sugar cane juice into white sugar crystals.
When you were last out driving, there were traffic lights to prevent mayhem. Well, Garrett Morgan developed the first automatic traffic signal. Imagine life without this invention! Not a pleasant thought.
Frederick McKinley Jones developed the first automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks. Remember that the next time you see a Tyson Chicken truck rolling down the interstate. My personal favorite is the Velvet Ice Cream truck with the mouth-watering photo of different flavored scoops on the side!
For eight years, I lived in Washington, D.C. If you've never visited our nation's capitol, make a point of doing so, and while you are there, gaze upon the White House and Capitol building. Yes, these were built by slaves who worked along side paid laborers.
Eleven years ago, scientist Lonnie G. Johnson invented the Super Soaker Squirt Gun. My kids (and probably yours, too) love those things on hot summer days! Who says there can't be innovations that promote pure fun? Aren't you glad there are?
Oh, and backing up to the Revolutionary period in America, Crispus Attacks, fugitive slave, was the first man to die for the cause of freedom in the Boston Massacre. Now, I'll admit that this one holds a special place in my memory; I was born on the fifth of March, the same day that this historical event occurred, only 240 years after the fact!
Most contributions by Blacks (and I've barely scratched the surface), have sadly been excluded from American history books. Nonetheless, in today's high tech world, there's little excuse for failing to enrich one's knowledge of this very interesting subject.
Go ahead. Catch up on the past and the present. You owe it to yourself, your children, and your country.
I'm Sherryl Fegan, wife, mother of four teenagers, and homeschooler of 14 years. My desire is to share my love of African American history.

Tuesday

The Power of the Wig


Some of you African American men and women know about the power of the wig and if you don't then you are about to learn!

You see her walking down the street and she looks like one of us, the nose and the lips, but it's a little deceiving because of that nice hair on her head. It looks like Chilli's from the 90s musical group TLC. Her friend has some nice hair too, something like Tyra Banks. The two together are exotic looking, one a mocha mix and the other something like chocolate milk. Now these women with their straight and wavy hair -- bought and paid for -- are so comfortable in their wigs that they almost forget that the hair isn't real until it's time to take it off! Here lies the problem.

Whether it's a wig, an extension glued or sewn on, it isn't real it is fake. You know it and I know it, but the non-black man or woman don't know it especially if they aren't use to being around blacks in their natural state (you know 70s afros -- power to the people!) Case in point, I was one for hating wigs until I decided to cover up my share of bad hair days with one and then I grew to like it. I loved the flawless look it gave me. Rain or shine my hair, I mean my wig, was always tight! But the reality of this deception hit me not once, not twice, but about three times now. The "friends" that I won with the first impression in my wig, had treated me different when the wig came off!

The first occurrence happened when I had a shoulder length straight, black wig with flips at the ends. I assume that the white woman who interviewed me thought I was an Hispanic mix. I found out later she loved her some Hispanic folks! She was always asking me how I was doing and eager to help me, but one day I came to work and my co-workers were complimenting me on my natural hair while she was looking at me oddly. I guess my curly wet, set was too much for her! (See here.) Soon after, she seemed to act different. I guess my hair gave her the idea to do some snooping on my background too. I recall some lighthearted conversation when she wanted to learn more about "Where I was from?" I thought we went over that already, "hmmm..." I thought.

The next experience was when I met a man at a thrift store. I told him about some books I was selling. He was Indian. He looked me over and was smiling ear to ear. That day I had a wig that was black, shoulder length, and straight with bangs similar to the kind some Asian women wear. Anyway, he kept looking at my hair and me. I didn't like all that looking since he was old enough to be my dad, but I also needed to sell my books so I went on and made arrangements for us to meet. Everything went well with the transaction and at times he was looking at my hair as if studying it. Weeks later I see him in the same store and he claims he didn't recognize me, but then said, "I thought it was you." Guess what? I didn't wear my wig that day and his reaction toward me with my Halle Berry cut was, "What happened to your hair? Why did you do that?" Remember I said he was Indian. I think he figured me out as he really studied my face this time, "Oh she's black..." Funny, he didn't do too much talking to me like he did both times when he saw me in that wig!

The last experience was with a Mexican woman who was all smiles when she invited me over with my two boys at a park to sing a birthday song to her son. I wore the same wig that I wore with the Indian guy. She introduced me to the other women there, Hispanic and white. There was no evidence of a single black mom in the group except for me. But did they know I was black? Well she would soon find out, because one day while sitting at a library I see her and I am smiling wide, "Hello, remember me!" I say. She studied my face for a second looked at me like I was stranger and then when she realized it was me, she wasn't smiling much. Now if someone greeted you all smiles, wouldn't you smile back? Maybe she was too concerned about recruiting people to her group and wanted to know why I wouldn't jump on the bandwagon with the other moms, I could have asked her that, but she is looking at me like those other people looked at me when I took off my wig! Uh oh!
She was looking at my real hair and my face and back to my hair and my face again. So I made small talk since she seemed a little distant. She realized what I was doing and chatted for a little, still looking at me. "Yes honey, I'm black not a bi-racial Hispanic you probably thought I was!" I wanted to tell her, but I didn't.

When I think back to other experiences like one with a Filipino woman who was always calling me, "My sister," I realized that these people were trying to figure me out. I had to tell the Filipino woman, "I'm not your sister...I mean I'm a sister, but not yours." She said she would claim me anyway and suggested there may be some Filipinos in my family. Last I checked there is no Indians (you know the ones from India,) no Latinos, and no Filipinos.
Maybe that's why the Asians look at me with pity in their eyes sometimes, "Poor child, she black wearing our hair!"

Nicholl McGuire is thinking about making a national day for sisters who want to burn our wigs!

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