#NationalPoetryMonth: Jessie R. Fauset

A photo of a poem by Jessie Fauset, title is "There is confusion" Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Thereisconfusioncropped.jpg

April is National Poetry Month. April is almost over, but better late than never. I thought that I’d share a poem by Jessie Redmond Fauset.

Harlem Renaissance writer, Jessie Redmond Fauset was a journalist, novelist, poet and civil rights advocate. She worked for the Crisis, which was an NAACP paper (founded by Dubois). The focus of many of her works was changing the perception of Black professionals. She brought the Black middle class into the limelight through her work during a time when Black people were routinely portrayed through a stereotypical lens. She pushed the Uncle Tom, Mammy and Aunt Jemima stereotypes aside and brought a more realistic, diverse portrayal of the Black middle class to life.

It makes sense that Fauset aimed to portray Black people in a more diverse, dignified light when you consider her background. Fauset was born April 27, 1882, in New Jersey and attended Philadelphia Highschool for Girls. She graduated as a valedictorian, possibly the first Black valedictorian. When she got older, she wanted to attend Bryn Mawr College, but they were so against accepting African-Americans that they were willing to pay for Fauset to attend another school of her choice. She chose to attend Cornell and graduated in 1905 with a degree in Classical Languages. Later, she earned her Masters in French from the University of Pennsylvania.

She became a teacher in the segregated Dunbar school in Washington, DC, where she taught French/Latin. Fauset also spoke and taught French in Washington, DC and New York City and spent her summers studying at the renowned La Sorbonne in France.

She wrote four novels, represented the NAACP at the Pan African conference and co-authored the Black children’s literary magazine, The Brownies Book. 

She mentored Langston Hughes, the famous African-American Harlem poet and may have taught James Baldwin.

She was an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta.

Fauset married to Herbert Harris, at the age of 47, and died on April 30, 1961.

Without further ado, enjoy this poem by Jessie Fauset-

La Vie C’est la Vie

On summer afternoons, I sit

Quiescent by you in the park,

And idly watch the sunbeams gild

And tint the ash-trees' bark

Or else I watch the squirrels frisk

And chaffer in the grassy lane;

And all the while I mark you voice

Breaking with love and pain.

I know a woman who would give

Her chance of heaven to take my place;

To see the love-light in your eyes,

The love-glow on your face!

And there's a man whose lightest word

Can set my chilly blood afire;

Fulfillment of his least behest

Defines my life's desire.

But he will none of me,

Nor I Of you.

Nor you of her.

'Tis said

The world is full of jests like these.

I wish that I were dead.

To me, this poem speaks of love desired, but not realized. Perhaps the woman is giving all of herself and bargaining for love. Others look at her love in envy, but she wants to die. How do you interpret this poem. Am I not thinking deeply enough?

Notable Novels by Fauset:

  • There is Confusion
  • Plum Bun
  • The Chinaberry Tree

Source

Source 2

Easter Meal and Devotionals

A photo of a cross with a gray , cloudy sky. Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/congerdesign-509903/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3243347">congerdesign</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3243347">Pixabay</a>

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.
John 13:34-35, NIV

My goal this Easter has been to read a devotional every day during Holy Week, repent for my many sins and thank the Lord that he is merciful. The above devotional is the scripture that I found through Crosswalk.

In addition to spiritually fortifying myself, physical fortification will include an Easter dinner of soft shell crabs, jambalaya, cornbread, and a dessert.

Blessings and prayers.

Redoshi- An African-American Woman Kidnapped from Her Homeland and Forced into Marriage

Redoshi is an African woman who was brought to America against her will and forced into slavery. Researchers believe Redoshi was likely born in the 1840s in modern day Benin. At about 12 years of age, her father was killed. Redoshi was taken from her homeland and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the Clotilda. The middle passage was a difficult, dangerous and traumatizing experience for the men, women and children aboard. It was typical for African men to be shackled below deck with shackles so painful that they often left welts and weighed the wearer down. Women were sometimes shackled or roped together above or below deck. Sometimes they weren’t roped. Sometimes they were raped by the crew members aboard the ship. Children were also often abused aboard ship.

After enduring the Middle Passage, Redoshi was bought by a man in Alabama where she was forced to work. Redoshi was forced into marriage as a child with an enslaved man. After emancipation, she lived with her daughter into the 1930s.

What makes Redoshi’s story unique is that she was on the last slave ship to come into the United States, she was a woman and she lived so late into the 1930s that video of her exists.

Civil rights activist, Amelia Boynton Robinson wrote a memoire about Redoshi in the 1930s. Zora Neale Hurston also researched Redoshi.

My grandmother was born in the 1920s. My grandmother would have been a teenager while Redoshi was still living. Redoshi’s life overlapped with my grandmother’s life and my grandmother’s life overlapped with mine and my mother’s. Often when people reference antebellum slavery in the United States, it’s spoken of as if it’s ancient history. Truth be told, my generation (millennials) are only a few generations removed from being legal property. In fact, my Great Aunt (who lived to be 101) remembers seeing the relatives of the family that enslaved our family in South Carolina. As a child, she didn’t understand what the connection with this white family was. It wasn’t until she was older that she understood that they were the relatives and descendants of the family that had enslaved her own. That same white family were also her cousins and Great Uncles.

Many African women who were forced to endure the Middle Passage were made voiceless, but research has revealed some of what Redoshi went through.

Many of the racial stereotypes that are pervasive today have their roots in slavery, such as the Jezebel and Mammy.

Slavery doesn’t seem so distant in this context.

 

This story came into the news recently after Dr. Durkin, a researcher, published a paper about Redoshi.

 

 

 

billionaire

A post by Abagond about billionaires. It is notable that according to Abagond, “the net worth of 7,000 ordinary White American households or 98,000 Black ones (based on median wealth in 2014, adjusted for inflation,” is equivalent to 1 billion. Note the stark contrast in white vs. black net worth overall.

Abagond

The view from Billionaires’ Row overlooking Central Park in New York (via MarketWatch).

A billionaire is someone whose wealth is equal to at least a billion pounds or dollars: $1,000,000,000.00. This post, written in 2019, will use current US dollars, worth 2.0 grams of silver.

There are currently 2,135 known, living billionaires according to Forbes magazine. New York has 103, Hong Kong 93, San Francisco 74, Moscow 69, and London 62. Only 14 are Black, Oprah Winfrey among them. Oxfam says the top 26 billionaires are as rich as the bottom half of humanity.

Isabella dos Santos of Angola, $2.3 billion.

Some famous billionaires (those in greyare dead, adjusted for inflation):

  • > $100 billion
    • 374 John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil)
    • 350 Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie Steel)
    • 298 Nicholas II of Russia
    • 220 Henry Ford (Ford Motor)
    • 200? Vladimir Putin (maybe only 70)
    • 199Basil II of the Byzantine Empire

View original post 572 more words

Stop Mindless Internet Use

A photo of a Black woman, a white man and a white woman all staring at their phones and not interacting.

Someone once said that time is one of the most precious assets in life. Everyone’s time is limited, and I shudder to think about how much time I’ve wasted mindlessly on the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, the internet has allowed me to connect with individuals who I wouldn’t have known otherwise, it’s allowed me to take online classes and read some great blogs. Many people rely on the internet to generate an income. The internet is not all bad, but when used mindlessly, it can certainly suck up your time and your life.

I am making a conscious effort this year to be more mindful about my internet use.

For the past decade, I’ve spent essentially half of my life on the internet. As a result, I’ve developed a pain in my neck, poorer eye sight, disrupted sleep patterns, poorer habits and increased stress.

I’ve spent less time with my family, been short with them because I was too deeply involved in the happenings of the internet world, instead of the offline world, which is more real. I’ve neglected my hobbies, including writing and ironically blogging.  Although I’m slowly picking up blogging again, I’ve been away from the blog for a while. Yet, I haven’t been away from the internet.

Mindless internet use may mean something different to everyone, but generally this is what I consider mindless internet use: 

  • Endless hours on social media, checking status updates
  • Online shopping and browsing without a purpose
  • Searching random things online
  • Watching junk, trashy reality shows on streaming websites
  • Anything that doesn’t enrich the mind or add value to your life
  • Anything that doesn’t have a purpose or end in sight
  • Going on free online dating websites with the hope of meeting a quality mate (lol!)
  • Anything that is not beneficial to overall well being (for some people this may include watching destructive, racist YouTube videos, unknowingly reading false news stories or conspiracy websites, watching violent/degrading pornography or casual sex websites)

Can you relate to any of these mindless internet time wasters? I certainly can.

I don’t want to live my life and think back on how I spent it mostly on the internet doing nothing and neglecting the things that really matter in life. Yet, most people need the internet for work or to take online classes, to view cooking or instructional videos etc. Sometimes the internet can be a good tool for connecting with friends who live a distance away.

Initially, I attempted to go cold turkey and cut out internet for a while, but this backfired because I couldn’t benefit from useful resources, like educational documentaries, online classes etc.

So now, I’ve set a goal to develop a mindful/ digitally minimalist internet mindset. To aid my journey, I will be reading the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.

I’ve set the following goals for myself:

  1. Spend more time with my family
  2. Indulge my hobbies, like the arts, crafting, writing, playing the piano
  3. Get out into the world and enjoy nature
  4. Develop real intimacy with real people
  5. Give my eyes and neck a break
  6. When I go onto the internet, have a purpose, such as to watch an educational documentary or a wholesome movie, take an online class, do professional tasks or connect with friends/family
  7. Set time limits on non-essential social media use

My start up plan:

  • I’ve already set up my phone and computer to give me downtime for 30 minutes before bed.
  • I’ve blocked certain non-beneficial/ addicting websites.
  • I’ve started reading before going to bed, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • I will be reading Digital Minimalism.
  •  I will schedule time where I just focus on my non-internet hobbies.
  • I will develop guidelines/ a schedule for internet use.

 

So, I will be doing some book reviews in the coming weeks and this will include tips and a review about the Digital Minimalism book.

  • Do any of you struggle with mindless internet use? Do any of you have any suggestions for how to curb neck pain from computer/looking down at a screen constantly?
  • Do you ever long for the days before cell phones, WIFI, social media and being constantly wired up?

 

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson wanted to take revenge on any black person because one black man raped his friend. Yes, that’s racist. Would it be okay if black people took revenge against all white people for all the white men who raped black women with impunity all throughout history? So much so that most African-Americans are part white from white males? What about the rape of black women by white men today? If it would be unacceptable and wrong to blame all white men for raping black women, so it’s unacceptable and wrong for Liam Neeson to do that to black men. I’m tired of all black people being made to pay for the wrongdoing of a small minority, while white people get the luxury of being individuals. via Liam Neeson