leaving a legacy.

Okay, so when my Professor assigned this book, I was about to lose it. I thought, “really? You want me to read 950 pages? Boo.” Nevertheless, I should have trusted her judgment because she is my favorite professor at Spelman.
We are reading a book called, “Gone with the Wind”. I know you probably heard about it – filled with lots of racist undertones and distorted depictions of history.  That’s beside the point; I encourage all of you to read it.

Back to my point that I never reached:

I was reflecting on the novel (based in Georgia) and my matriculation throughout Spelman. The AUC and Howard are known to be the cream of the Historically Black College and University crop. Historically, the locations of these two institutions have contributed so much to who I am as a black woman. 
Georgia was not the “golden state”- full of luxurious architecture and promised opportunities. In Georgia, the streets were paved with blood. “Hang em’ up Georgia” was a place full of lynchings, sit-ins, shootings, burning bodies, protests, hooded ghosts, rapists and “tragic” mulatto girls. Georgia is not glamorous – it is a place seeping with a past that should not be forgotten. Martin Luther King Jr. sat in the classrooms of Morehouse. His dead body was brought to Spelman’s chapel for folks to pay respect. The AUC is a constant reminder of the sacrifices of my ancestors. My family is from Georgia. My grandmother is still sensitive about certain places in her hometown. It was real.  It still is- confederate flags still hang and black men are killed just because. The south is a place that nourishes the mind with a consciousness of where it has come and how far we have to go.

Howard University, placed in the most beautiful and ugly city in America- Washington D.C. It’s like a huge symbol of progression for black people. From the back roads of Alabama to the White House, we have pushed and pushed- Legislation and conceptualization of justice in the air. My friends and I drove up to D.C. for a football game and I was honestly taken aback. I felt like I placed myself in the skin of a Zora Neale Hurston or Dubois. I imagined what it could have been like to travel up north. I imagined what it must’ve been like to consider a new tomorrow- a new, loud voice. I considered the late night meetings with Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison, shaping the culture that we have today in literature, poetry, music, and overall expression.

I know I am a nerd, but I am blessed to be a part of a continuing legacy. When I was in high school, the brief history of African Americans felt too fantastical for me to relate. It was almost like reading a comic book or hearing a tall tale- so far removed. But, when I see Martin Luther King Jr’s sister on campus or hear Nikki Giovanni speak … it is almost like watching my race climb out of the dusty old pages of my textbooks and smile. How many people can claim these experiences? I am Honored.

1 comment: