February has always held a special place in my heart.
It is the month that I was born(February 7,1964).
It is the month that my son was born (February 28, 1999).
It is the month that I wrote my first poem (February 14, 2007).
It is month that my first book of poetry was published (February 22, 2008), and it is Black History Month (which had it's beginnings when Carter G. Woodson first proclaimed a Negro History Week on Febraury 12, 1926).
History is essentially a collection of stories handed down.
The dictionary defines history as:
1) An account of what has or might have happened in the form of a narrative, play, story or tale
2) What has happened in the life or development of a people, country or institution,ect.
3) A known or recorded past
As African-Americans ,we have an especially rich collective history and each one of us has a very rich individual history made up of a unique set of experiences, circumstances and encounters.
In honor of Black History Month,I want to urge each individual to:
TELL YOUR STORY/(stories)
Consider this, the Best Selling , Award Winning novel Roots came from one man's (Alex Haley's) family stories handed down over the generations and prompted a whole movement of interest in geneologies, heritage and African-American History .
This month, be a part of promulgating, promoting and preserving black history by TELLING YOUR STORY.
The following poem comes from a story that my mother and father would repeatedly tell me over the years about the difficulties they had in voting and registering to vote.
RIGHT TO VOTE
I love to hear the stories,
That my mama and daddy tell;
Sometimes, we'll just sit a while,
And they'll talk for a spell.
They've told me of how hard it was,
For them to get to vote;
They'd go down to the courthouse door,
And there would be a note;
"Out to Lunch" or "No One's In,"
"Come Back Another Day,"
In all kinds of ways you wouldn't believe,
They were turned away.
Even when they did get in,
There were more hurdles they had to cross;
They'd be asked to answer questions
That would put anyone to a loss,
"How many bubbles in a bar of soap?"
"How many pennies in that jar?"
"How many raindrops to fill a barrel?"
"How many miles to a star?"
It seems almost incredulous
That this was how it was;
But, believe you me, no matter what,
I vote, now, just because.
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
poem from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems