The Great Escape

Second born, second best and born to be nice and obedient, a sure fire receipt for a disastrous life. Eloise’s life started with all the makings of a Greek tragedy. The order of birth determines the supernatural factors in life. It determines how you are welcomed into the family, as a joyful surprise, or just another mouth to feed. Having been born just eleven months after my sister, suggested that this birth was a mistake and was developed in a womb, which did not have a chance to heal from the birth of the wanted one. An eleven-month-old baby is still nursing and the stress of adding another mouth to already stretch and tender nipples could not have been a pleasant experience for my mother. Already worn from caring for an infant, my birth would only rob her of the treasured sleep she look forward to when first born slept. My crying out in need of food and attention would only release a flood of tears from a mother wanted to give her best but too stress and in much need of rest. Set aside with a bottle filled with substitute breast fluids and fondling hard glass instead of the soft tissues of a nursing breast, I soothed myself and tried to make myself content and self sufficient so as not to be of bother to anyone. The better I behaved, the more I was ignored since the noisy wheel gets the oil or in my case attention. Two babies under two years of age during the depression years were not exactly considered a blessing and the struggle to care for this great responsibility was compounded by the fact that my father taking advantage of his husbandly rights and insensitive to the suffering of my mother. Sex was the only free pleasure available to the poor in those days where men struggled to support a family in a jobless society. Going into a raw vaginal area not yet healed from the trauma of birth, and sharing the nipples of life with his two born daughters, my father planted yet another seed of life into the fragile womb of my mother. She was later to lose this womb in a hysterorectomy later in life, but now it was in use providing the nurturienments for a new growing life.  A baby boy was born exactly eleven month after my birth, and to compound the issue, he was born light bright and damn near white, and to my father, a sheer delight. In fact my brother was born so white that when it was time to bring him into my mother after birth for nursing, the nurse was reluctant to give him to my mother saying he was a white baby. His birth certificate listed his race as white all his life. This was indeed going to be another kettle of fish, when mother came home from the hospital, she lays light bright and damn near white on the bed with his two sisters and the story of my life was just about to take a more clearly defined example of what it was going to mean to be second born second best. Family members came by to see and welcome this new son and share my father’s delight. There were those who rushed to pick up the light bright and damn near bright baby and wonder how it happened, forgetting that my mother’s father was a white Irish Scotch man, and she herself would be considered “high yallar.” Those who had to wait to plant kisses on this new son would rush to hold my baby sister, first born, first blessed, she was a little cutie with her brown bag complexion. Lost in this affectionate embrace what black baby, second born second best. Being the darkest of my mother’s children, I laid their unnoticed content to suck on my glass breast filled with can milk, sugar and water. I smiled googled and found my own excitement separate and apart from these people to whom I was just an invisible happening. I considered my self a visitor and tolerated intruder in a life and family that did not expect me and were affected in anyway because of my presence. As a visitor, I was free not to develop deep attachments. This was a good attitude to develop especially since, life would take these people away from me, and I would really be left alone. Of they had been the source of my identity and purpose, I would have suffered terribly from them traveling to other dimensions. Death was to take my father,sister, mother, and brother leaving me to return to my world where I had left to visit their life.

My earliest memories of my life began with a scream, a piercing scream, which raised a level of fright through my small body was even more intense and frightening because it was coming from the person who I depended on for trust and security. I was four, my sister was five and my baby brother was three. I was a small child, but I was in the protective care of my mother who was all powerful, and now she was screaming in an uncontrollable way, which suggested that the seems of the world were cracking. I don’t remember the door- bell ringing, or a knock on the door, I really do not remember anything about that day or time except the scream. My sister, brother and I ran to the kitchen from the back room of our railroad flat apartment searching for comfort from the one person who was not able to care for anyone at this time. Bent over and rocking back and forward, was my mother, crying uncontrollably.  As young children ages we did the only normal thing, which children do when their mother cries, we all started to cry. We did not know why we were crying, but if mother was crying, then it was time for all of us to cry. The loud screaming and crying brought the opening of doors by the neighbors unaccustomed to hearing loud noises from our apartment. Mother was a quiet person, nice but not friendly. She had come up to New York City to marry her childhood sweetheart, and although she had been in the city almost six years, she had not made any friends. Six years ago she married and moved into her husband’s family home and started a life that was to bring her many days of rejection and pain. Her husband seeing that she was unhappy found a little apartment around the corner from his parents, and moved his wife and three babies into a place of their own. Conditions did improve, but her husband’s health continued to be fragile. He went out to work each day until one day, not feeling very well, he stopped by the hospital to see if he could get some relief from the chronic pain he lived with daily. The hospital decided to keep him for some test after discovering that he had contracted pneumonia from working outside on one of the governments WPA projects. It was the period of the depression, and men would seek employment from the many programs started by the government. We had gone to the hospital to see my father, but we could not go upstairs because of out age. My mother had given us instructions to sit quietly on the bench and not to move for any reason until she returned. We knew to obey, and my sister and I sat on either side of my brother in order to see that he did not fall off the bench.

My mother did not stay long, aware of the fact that she had to share her time and responsibility between two important factors in her life. We were happy to see her when she came through the waiting room door, we did not run to meet her, because we had been told to sit still and we always obeyed instructions. She came and picked up my brother and took my hand, and my sister held on to her dress. We walker outside, and she told us to look up at the window, we were happing to see our father at the window, he waved and I think someone helped him to get back in bed. It was nice to see him and waving our hands and arms at him was a very pleasurable experience, but now he was dead. The scream announced his death. The next door neighbor came over, and took the telegram out of my mother’s hand, and made a loud gasp, and kept saying she was so sorry, and if there was anything she could do. My mother asked for help one of the first times in her life. She asked the neighbor if she would go around the corner to my grandparent’s house and tell his mother what had happened. We did not have a telephone, in fact in 1937, very few people had phones, so bad news had to be delivered by telegram. Although my grand parents lived around the corner, I never remember visiting them, and I never remembered them visiting us. I did not know what she looked like. About sixty years later, my cousin gave me a picture of this stranger, and I was surprised to see how much she looked like my sister.

I survived the death of my father in 1937, and the death of my sister ten years later in 1947, and the death of my mother ten year after that in 1957. With so many people coming and going on the heavenly express I had little time for the pity parties, which usually accompany these life changing events. Blowing out seventy eight candles on my self made cake, I looked in the mirror and laughed at my self, and said, just who in the hell do you think you are. You took every ball that life threw at you and made an exciting game of it. You pitched no hitters with the best of them, and you made every bas in every game you elected to play. Met some exciting heavy hitters along the way and made life worth living. I have never been bad, but never too good. I have enjoyed many loves and great pleasures that can only come from good love relations. One of my great loves was education, I enjoyed the whole process of learning.

I have traveled many lands and loved many people, and I am happy to say the love I gave was returned in many folds. My spiritual life and my love life were private and personal, and physical angels were always around to lift my spiritual and emotion soul up into higher and higher heights. I never used or abused my body with any substance or behaviors, the pleasure of sharing time with the many nice people sent into my life presented moments of pure joy. To the many kind people who added to the quality of my life, I whisper my special thank you, thank you for making me feel that I was someone special. Often people will say, how did you manage to overcome so many obstacles in your life, I say, God has these angels that he send into our lives with the soul purpose of being there for you, I have had my fair share of angels, and only God and I know who they were. If someone ask who do you think you are, I simply say ask the angels. In order to have a meaningful relationship with the divine, you must first make you peace and find your place in the heart of man. If you have not shared love with someone who cares about you and you are able to return that love in a safe and secure place, then it will be difficult to find your way to the heart of a spiritual being you have never seen. You must find and share physical love in order to appreciate and accept spiritual love. There must be a time when you look into the eyes of someone and see pure acceptance and unconditional love. You must be able to have the memory of a warm intimate embrace where total surrender is achieved in moments of heavenly bliss, which releases fluids of healing and wellness. God’s face comes in such flash of joy sight and insight comes to the spirit. It was only having the privileges of experiencing love can one enter into a relationship with God. Jumping straight into to God without going through man can sometimes give the feeling that something is missing. Each time we love we draw ourselves closer and closer to where we are going. The many physical journeys that I have taken have helped me to know with certainty who I am as a physical and spiritual being. When you enter into a physical relationship enter into it with the same intensity as you do when you think about and talk about God. It is well with my body and my soul, and for this I give thanks.

I am the sparkle in God’s eye, the joy of his heart, and an example of the wisdom of his mind. I have learned to let the awesome power of God show through me. I dedicate my life to being a living witness to his love and service. I am aware that I have been given a tremendous gift in this body called life. Therefore, I expand this gift by giving it away. I give myself in the service of mankind, and, I am rewarded with wealth and good health. God is good, all the time.

The presence of God is within me, around me, over me, under me and through me. It comes in with the air that I breathe, the water that I drink and the food that I eat. The universe is his and was created by him. The rocks, stones, hills, valleys, grass and living creatures give testimony to the vastness of his creations God is all and all around. When I see a tree, I celebrate the marvel of his world. Looking at a tree we notice that each one so different and the same as if a single hand drew the branches and the veins within each leaf. Looking upon the faces of mankind, I again see the handiworks of God. Who but God could have made faces so symmetrical?

One seldom sees a nose in a forehead, or ears in a chin, colors may vary, but the basic design is the same. This awareness of this infinite mind has caused me to develop a personal relationship with the God of my being. I am because he is. Through many trials and tribulations I know that the universe is in order, and will unfold, as it should. I trust God, and I let go and let God. My personal understanding has made me aware, that words from the essence of God, spoke the world into being. As part of the world, I am part of the spoken word of God. Made in the image and likeness of God, I am careful of the thoughts and words that I entertain. If I am a thought and the results of the spoken word of God, then, I too can speak my world into being through my thoughts and my words. My ministry and my life have been about the use of words to create and heal the individual self and world.

Proverbs says that, Death and life are in the power of the

tongue.” Working with children and adults, I have encouraged them to call their world, not as it may appear to be, but as God would intend it to be. I encourage them to see beyond the apparent, and see with the eyes of God. See the rightness of life. See the kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of frequently. This has meant to encourage the poor to cal and see themselves as the wealth and perfect ness of God, and expect that wealth and perfection to manifest itself in the reality of their lives. These are words, and they are the words, which come from the truth at the center of my heart. These words however, were formed at a dear price. My spiritual formation has been a long painful process. I know God is and works because I have had to call upon him during moments of deep distress. God began working for me during the days of my early childhood. I will not say that I knew what or who this God was, I can only say that as I walked through the valley of death and disappointments I somehow knew that I was not alone.

Children who are lonely often invent an imaginary friend, someone whom they can depend upon, someone who no one else sees but them. My friend was a spirit, it was the other me that no one could see, but would walk with me and talk with me, and tell me that I was not alone. Richard Peace writes that our family and friends are at the heart of our lives. He asks:       “Have you ever had a “spiritual friendship” – a relationship centered on your pursuit of God?”Looking back on my life, I can see that if I did not have a spiritual friendship, I would not have had any friends at all. Most of my energies were spent in survival and I was aware, that first and foremost, God was the friend and relationship upon which I could depend. Death has always been a visitor in my childhood home. The death of my father at age twenty-six, when I was four, set the tone for our life. We were going to be a family of struggle. When the head of the house dies, it leaves the spouse in utter despair. An individual in despair cannot give love and attention.

My mother left with three small children under the age of five was overwhelmed by life and its events. Somehow I remembered that I assumed the responsibility of caring for my mother as she zombie walked her way through motherhood responsibilities. Some how God in his infinite wisdom made me the strongest, and I would be called upon to use that strength on many occasions. I remember my mother getting up early one morning and dressing herself and preparing to leave the house. I quickly got up and put on my clothes and slipped my hand in hers and said, “ I am going with you mommy.” She just looked at me and I stayed close to her. We went for a walk, no particular place, but I remember walking down by the waterfront. The sun had not come up yet, but I remember holding tight to her hand and saying, “It is going to be alright mommy, I am here.” As day began to break, we walked back in the direction of our apartment, my sister and brother were still asleep in the apartment, and they did not know we had been for our little walk. I sometimes think it was just a dream but, there was a man with a camera box just getting ready to set up for the day, he asked to take our picture. I remember him putting his head under the black cover of the box and snapping the picture. We waited a few minutes for the picture to develop, and he gave it to us. I looked at that picture years later, and I remember the event. I was six years old. I know it was the day that God helped me save my mothers life. The years did not get any better, but somehow we made it through. My mother continued in her depression, she covered it up by attending church and focusing her energies on religious work. The depression only deepened with the illness of my sister. Tuberculosis had ravished her young body, and her illness robbed us all of a childhood. My mother only had time to give her the care and attention that she needed. I decided that I would not cause her any trouble, and with God’s help, I went to school every day and from somewhere I continued to know that I was not alone. The death of my sister at fifteen took a devastating toll on my mother.

She used religion as her comfort, and would spend most of the day and evening in some church. Remembering I remember growing to hate the churches that she attended, and I hated the other women who were all suffering from some of the same type of life challenges. Somewhere in that hatred, I felt a source that was carrying me and guiding me through life. I too turned to the church and religion for comfort. I had to in the meantime, continue to attend school, take care of my self, my mother, and my younger brother. My mother became ill, and was in and out of the hospital many times. Childhood merged into adolescent and my high school years and my church years were the central part of my life. I graduated from High School, registered myself into evening classes at City College, and found myself a job. I did all this while working as a Sunday school teacher, and singing on a major senior choir in one of Harlem’s largest churches. God had taken over my life. God was the guide in my life, God was the friend in my life, and God was the parent in my life. I think of why I did not choose another path to follow. I did not choose the path of pity and depression. I did not ease my pain with any substance or unhealthy behavior, I put my hand in God’s hand, and I always heard Her say, “I am here Delores, it is going to be alright.” And it was. God brought a young man into my life, a good Presbyterian from a strong middle class Southern background. His mother and father were college graduates and were in the financial position to send him to New York University. He was a college graduate with excellent promise. I was brought up the old fashioned southern way; first you check the family background, and future potential, then you fall in love. We married, and two years later I had my first child. The birth of my first child and the death of my mother were only months apart. I learned through these early events in my life, that although I had traveled through many valleys and shadows of death, I had no fear, the ever living God was always watching over me, my strength, was not physical, it was spiritual. My head was anointed with the oil of confidence, and I had no fear. God stretched out his rod and his staff and there was comfort in my soul.

This was the God that I went searching for. This was my God. This was not the God of my mother or my father. This was my God. I discovered at a very young age, how my walk with my God, and my friend would be. He would always go ahead of me and set the way, I would step out and follow. I knew somehow that good and God were connected, therefore, I sought the “good” in life and people. My quest for a deeper understanding of God and my spiritual formation has taken me on many interesting trips. I did not sit in the same Sunday “pew” and listen to the same denominational sermons and hear the same interpretation of the sacred scriptures. I tried many “pews” and many sermons.

A fundamental grounding in Catholic teaching gave me a clear understanding that I was a Christian, and the roar of the noise in the Baptist Church touched the emotional fibers of my soul, and still I searched. The quiet and clearly researched topics presented in the Methodist Episcopal Church made it possible to hear what was being said over the noise and rituals. I stopped and nourished my self on the teachings of that denomination. I felt at home since my family had been Methodist for over two hundred years. My ancestors were slave ministers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Metaphysics and Religious Science, as taught by Dr. Ernest Holmeshelped me with systematic theology and the concept of understanding who or what God was. His teachings had a profound effect on my spiritual formation. He writes:   “ Let us…approach the Science of Mind-the Science of Spiritual Psychology    -with awe, but not with fear; with truly a humble thought, but not with a sense that we are unworthy. Let us approach it normally, happily, willing to accept, glad to experiment, helping and believing that as the results of our efforts we shall each derive a great good-a sound understanding of the natural laws of Life, as they apply to the individual and his relationship to the whole universal scheme of things.” Metaphysics was useful to me as a Christian, because it helped me to understand how to use the power of God in the universe to order my world through ordering my thoughts and behaviors. I learn to act like a Christian and speak like a Christian through my studies in Religious Science and metaphysics. I learned how to become a co-creator with God in my own universe. I learned to watch and carefully select my words and thoughts with regards to my self and others.

This is Christian teaching. Do unto others they way you would like others to do unto you. Think about others the way you would want others to think about you, and most important of all, speak about others they way you would like others to speak to and about you. Paul said, change your thoughts and you can change your life. Metaphysics helped me to change my thoughts, and as results, my spiritual formation reached deeper heights.  In his book Spiritual Autobiography, Richard Peace suggests that we divide our lives into periods that were significant to us, he suggest: Encounters with God Crises of Faith and, Outcomes of Growth. I was lucky that my mother had me in church seven days a week. I was surrounded by people with problems but who were in close relationships with God. I did not have to go and look for a spiritual environment, I was born into one, and I was familiar with the God of poor people. I watched how the poor and the oppressed used God in their lives. I learned to respect and appreciate those storefront churchwomen. I learned that they too had a secret friend, and they would join together in their meetings and share the joy of that friend. I had many encounters with God; it was usually during a funeral or some other crises. I was uncomfortable with that God. I survived my “crises in faith” period, and I came out with a better understand of how God was working in my life through all the problems.

My outcomes and growth centers around the fact that I know why and how God works in our lives, and I share that knowledge, with others. Through all the tears and sorrow, joy and gladness I know my best friend, the Holy Spirit was always with me. The expanded growth in my life has also come from my interfaith and ecumenical background. My association with the Family Federation and American Clergy Leadership Conference has provided me with opportunities to meet and study with individuals dedicated to be the hands of God on earth. Each faith and tradition has something to learn from the other, it is in our differences that the presence of God can be found. The move we interact with different faiths, cultures and traditions, the stronger our own faith becomes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

This is a story of a family migrating out of the southern parts of the United States and coming to New York City to see a better life for some of the members of the family. Everyone did not come, and they did not come at the same time. Those who came had certain strength and the courage to take risk in unknown adventures. There is some concern about the separation of the extended family, and some evidence shows that sometimes it is important to stay close up and personal with each other, and sometimes it is necessary to go separate ways if members elect to travel more dangerous routes. There are however certain guidelines important to success and preservation of the family core. There are certain values, which a family has and a set of rules, tested by time, and followed will make smooth the way into uncharted areas.

Africans and Indians have human value system, which have guided them since the beginning of the human experiment on earth. The foundation of all rules is that we love the Lord thy God with all thy soul and might, and that we love each member of the human family as we love ourselves. We must have clear understanding of who we are in relations to the God whom we believe in a serve, knowingly and unknowingly. The universe responds to us individually and collectively and it is important to remember we get back from the universe what we send out into the world of God. There is always a camera in the sky watching and recording our every move, and for self- awareness, we are whom we are when no one is looking. The rules set forth in the first part of this book may appear to be conservative and does not give allowance for those who wish to act and behave in their own selfish way.

Choose you life and the rules that guide that life, if it works for you keep them. If however you find that events in life may not be going as you wish, review the rulebook list and make whatever adjustments are necessary. There are no special people, and if you mess up your body, you will mess up your life. Race is not an impossible obstacle; it is only a challenging opportunity, which will make you a better person. You will always have to work twice as hard to achieve life’s goals and no one gets a special pass. Each of us has a little piece of God, and it is up to us what we do with our God piece. It is important that each family have a book of rules. We are not street people. We did not get this far by accident. The survival of the family depends on the understanding of the rules of life. The basic rule is to love yourself and know that you are made in the image and likeness of God, and that suggestion perfection. You are also to treat others the way you want to be treated. Be honest, and do not take advantage of others.

The universe, in which we live, is like a mirror, reflecting back to you what it sees. You will always have returned back to you what you send out into the world. There are angels to guide you look for them. You can achieve your highest desire through education, and you can destroy your life through bad relationships, bad choices and substance abuse. Stay in God’s “light,” do not go into dark places. If you go into dark places, no one will come in and get you. God gives us “ free will,” you can use it for success or failure Look over these rules from time to time to see if you are on the right track. The family believes in: God – Family- Education

We are the descendants of African, European, Cherokee, and Scotch Irish. Our ancestral roots are from Ghana, Ireland, Scotland, Kentucky, South Carolina, St. Augustine Florida, and New York City.

African Americans have been in this part of the world for at least three hundred years. The first officially arriving in 1619 as indentured servants. There is ancient history suggesting that Africans were also here before Christopher Columbus (Ivan Van Sertima)

As Native Americans, our heritage goes back over 10,000 years on this continent. Before that our lineage can be traced to parts of Asia. We celebrate the land carved by our ancestors. The coming of the white man brought a different set of value systems, and belief systems. As a people were are not selfish about this land given by the spirits of our ancestors. No man can own this earth; one people, one human kind, inhabit it. The land welcomes human kind, empowered with the spirit understanding and acceptance of all life.

We did not create this land it was created out of the mind of the Great Spirit to address the needs of a fragile human population. Embrace all that is of this land and its people. The land welcomed visitors from far away lands experiencing hardships due to famine disease and hostile behaviors. We ask that you park your hatreds at the water’s edge and come and enjoy and participate in this greatest of human experiments called America. Kindness does not mean weakness, and just because we shared God’s land with God’s people does not mean that we are giving up our rights to be the original inhabitants of this land between the two oceans.

Where necessary we will mate with your bloodlines and help the visitors to thing land understand God’s meaning and purpose for His/Her people. You may not think you see us, but whenever you look into the face of a true American, looking back at you will be the eyes of the native American watching over this land and this people. Celebrate your rich heritage. It is just an important to be of Cherokee blood, as it is to be of Scotch Irish and African heritage. Give equal value and weight to each, it is who you are, and it is only an appreciation and celebration of the differences that will help you to understand your complex life, and different way of thinking.

Africans also brought their own value system for human behavior with them. These were rules of behavior established long before the ten commandments of the Bible. Many come from the code of the African King Hammurabi.

Slavery brought another set of rules for survival, and racism and segregation still required the African to develop rules, separate and apart from the traditional society. It would have been impossible for people transported to another culture to have selfish ideas and still be able to endure the shock treatments of the new world. We are a mixed family. We cannot discriminate since we represent a diverse mixture of colors, creeds and nationalities. We are black, white red and brown. The beauty of that mixture makes us an exciting family. Teach your children to accept all people, and to love and support one another.   Develop a code of rules to live by and pass them on to your children.

Do not marry poor people. The best thing you can do for poor people is not to be one of them (Rev. Ike). Treat people with respect, but do not associate with people living in poor neighborhood. Avoid men and women with disturbed family backgrounds

Look for educated people to associate with and mate. This may sound hard and elitist, but you will find as you read the life story of the family that it is possible to have upwards mobility and downwards mobility, and the direction of movement is often determined by life choices. Poverty is not an economic term but a life style and a belief. You can pass through economic challenges without developing the culture of poverty. You know you are headed for the culture of poverty if your grandparents experienced economic challenges, your mother married someone with little or no education and she experienced economic challenges, and you are living in an economically challenged neighborhood and you are either pregnant or fathered a child with an economically challenged mate. If you are experiencing “Baby Mama Drama,” forgive yourself, reevaluate your choices and get back on path.

Give people a chance to redeem themselves. Give people a chance to start over. This is very important especially since the challenges against select groups of people place them in situations where they may make stupid choices. These stupid choices often happen to individuals who believe they a special and the rules of society does not apply to them.

When the country places a group in a special category it means that the society and the police officials will go by the books and follow guideline and procedure in a strict fashion and not take into consideration the human factor. If you are aware that you are part of a group selected for this special status you must teach your children how to survive and learn survival tactics yourself.

The linear time and geographical space determines if  and when a particular group is selected to be in a special category and as such to be on the receiving end of careful observation and harsh treatment for any infractions of the laws. During the 1600 poor Irish men and women, and English men who had fallen on hard times and shipped to the colonies, were treated with hard rules.

As the colonies grew and became a place where Europe could send her unwanted souls, penal colonies were set up, and men were treated in subhuman fashioned. During the 1800 massive immigrants fled the starvation and famine of Europe and found themselves on the negative end of a developing country. The end of the Civil War turned a whole region of the country into second class citizens, as the victor, the North, took advantage of the war torn and weary southern states. The 1900 brought ships into Ellis Island filled with the hopeful and the tearful, seeking a better life, but always finding themselves on the bottom and taking abuse from those who did not welcome them and dedicated their lives and their energies to make their lives a living hell. It was around this time that America was experiencing an internal migration of her own, as peoples of color elected to leave the farms of the south and head for the big cities to start a new kind of life.

The law enforcement agencies in these cities are hired by established people of communities to maintain order and keep the new comers in their place, and that place is out of their sight and out of their way. The established peoples of the cities did not want to compete for time or space in their world. They did not want to compete for jobs or housing in land areas, which they thought they were entitled. Lost in their memory banks was the fact that they too had immigrated to this new land in hopes of a better life for themselves and their children.

This memory failure caused the old immigrants to set up inferior education centers for the new immigrant, and use the harshest punishments for the children of the new immigrant groups who broke any rules and regulations. Public School teachers, nuns and priest exercised the free use of the ruler and paddle to beat active children into the enculturation patterns planned for them. The immigrant was bad, his children misbehaved and the men would often break unknown laws and find themselves in prison for the slightest infractions. Education curriculums for these poor immigrant groups were designed to give them just enough schooling to make the capable of pushing clothing carts for factories located in the garment manufacturing districts. Groups deciding to break out of this culture of poverty did so through crime, and organized crime became the identifying factor for determining who would be the next group to escape out of poverty and mistreatment.

Crime families developed organized around the concept that America was a wealthy land, but that wealth was reserved for a select group for people. Strategic plans were developed to create an underground of wealth by separating money from those who had it, and were willing to pay for illegal services or natural vices. The 20th century created a new wealth class, a class of wealth built on the vices of the upper classes; the classes that did not want to let anyone into their select group. Organized crime families accumulated enough wealth in the first generation to send the sons of the second generations into the best private schools and universities. They took their sons out of the abusive public and parochial schools giving them regular beatings and just enough education to fit into the service class and brought them seats in top schools where the curriculum was designed to create rulers of society and not just servers.

This was the means for social mobility in America, and many father sacrificed his life and went to prison for his family, but not before establishing an off shore account to take care of the next generation. So in the course of events you do not know what an individual had to endure in order to achieve some measure of success. Some may have taken a path of wealth accumulations through non-sanctioned social behaviors in order to work themselves and their families through the unspoken about American class system.

The 21 century have done away with physical abuse of children in public and parochial schools, but it has not done away with the system of providing a class based education system designed to stratify a society. The old system administered immediate punishment to students who were caught breaking any rules. The new system punished the student’s future. The children of the poor will receive an education, which will rob some of their futures.

The rulers receive a quality education from quality prepared teachers, and those destined to serve receive the serving education of compliance, and every infraction or misbehavior on the part of the child becomes a record stacked against him and designed to keep him in his pre assigned place. Therefore, sometimes it is necessary to give a man or a woman  a second chance, many have climbed hills filled with broken glass and slippery steep rocks, the fact that they have made it up the hill, even though they may be raggedy and a little worse for wear is a testimony to the human spirit and the will to excel.

Drugs are placed in the American culture for the purpose of doing what old fashioned  stratification class system did, to define your place in society, and make sure you do not strive to achieve any status that is above your designed social and economic class. Drugs restructure the receptors of the brain and chemically control thought and behavior patterns. It is a means of thought and action control. The makers of the drug have tested out the desired results for society, and provide information to the movers and shakers of society on what to expect from selected segments of the society. A segment of the society that might be prone to rebel against the status quos, and seek more privileges or have demonstrations against injustice, are sent on personal mental trips of euphoria.

If society finds it cheaper to fight the war of the mind through the use of chemical substances, rather than engage in a full physical riot or class struggle. Developing countries are keeping a hold and control on America by preparing and providing specially designed drugs to the individuals with the most potential. If you appear smart, you can be a potential client, the question becomes are you smart enough to stay drug free. Drugs can become your family, your lover, your quest for life recognition and achievement. Drugs become the all of your life, and it is so powerful and complete, that anyone taken them, are out of the game, and that is its intended purpose. If you use drugs, then drugs are your family. Drugs control of brain, and the brain controls your behavior and your life. No exception.

Drugs are the mental police of society and are placed in the American society to do what the old systems were designed to do. It is designed to prevent or limit competition. The new century uses drugs the way the old century used law enforcement. Drugs are designed to place an easy identifiable mark on certain groups so that they can be slowed down in their progress.

You cannot get through the American system using drugs; they are designed to stop you. They may give you false confidence and false starts, but the chemical designed of the drug has one purpose, to alter perception and provide instant gratification and invisible mental adventures into inner world areas designed for solidarity travel. The solo trips are so exciting that individuals separate from the group and are content to take non-intellectual trips into the undiscovered world. The problem you cannot live in two worlds at the same time, and you cannot navigate through the complicated maze of American society, when you mind is away on the greatest adventure of your life.

The more trips you take on these chemically planned adventures, the harder it is to find your way back home. Drugs eat up the breadcrumbs, which were designed to show you the way out of the forest. So if you find a person on a trip, leave them alone. They do no hear you, and cannot respond to you and become annoyed that you are attempting to prevent them from going on the ultimate trip. Avoid people addicted to substance abuse. Never rescue a drug addict with the hopes of changing them.

If the parent of a potential mate is an addict, then the child will also be an addict. Select another mate. Look for educated people to associate with and mate.

If you use drugs it is easy for you to be known to policemen, teachers, health care professionals, employers, military personnel, and drug dealers; in fact the only person you are fooling or hiding from is yourself. Drugs are designed to be an identifying red letter for you to wear on your chest. It affects the brain and gives you a false sense of intelligence and power.

Drugs also eliminated common sense, and can cause an individual to think he has all the answers when he is projecting addict. Parents and love ones try to acknowledge that they are aware that you are in trouble and turn a blind eye Drugs put a stamp of identification on you. Your eye change, the pupils dilate. Your skin changes. You talk fast. You talk a lot. You lie. You think you are smarter than everyone else. You think you can fool people. Drug companies put special substances in their product, which makes it possible to identify users. Anything you put into your system has the power to control you. The purpose of drugs is to keep you out of the work force. Drug addicts usually lie, and have distorted views of themselves and their lives. Do not rescue people who play games or take advantage of friends and family members. Help family members in need

Do not support drug or anti social behavior of family members. Remember the previous generation of organized crime families, may have sold drugs to the upper class people and their children, but they did not permit their own families to engage in the practice.

Family Gatherings

Plan picnics, social parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthday or special occasions to get together and serve plenty of food. Weddings, Birth celebrations, funerals, and serious illness, are must family attendance. Family gatherings are important. It is a way for cousins to get together and see how each is doing. Do not bring into the family anyone who will harm the family. Blood first, when there is a question, always support your bloodline. Do not include members of the bloodline at family gatherings if they have done something to hurt members of the family. Do not fight at family gatherings. People, who over use alcohol, may lose control during family gatherings.

Food is important during family gatherings. Each person should prepare or purchase something to bring to family gatherings.                                                     .

Pay careful attention to the younger members, especially the children in the family. Never be cruel to children. Never abuse children, it is a curse, and will come back and punish you. Help children in school. Help children to see and understand the joy of life and living. Teach children about God. Make holidays, birthdays, and religious days special for children. Never leave a female child with any male member of the family regardless of the relationship. It is the role of the female to protect the children, and after giving birth to children, a woman should not have a passion desire for any man until the children have reached the age of safety. If passion continues during the childhood years, some women may elect to satisfy passion for the safety of her children. It must be clear to all that child safety and responsibility comes before passion

Women also have responsibilities to their husbands and mates , but the first responsibility is to the children. The history of child abuse continues because women care more for their passions then for the safety of their children. During the period called the change of life, God returns the passion to the woman, and her passion desire is restored at the level of her youth, she will not have lost anything by delaying passion gratification. Boy friends and step fathers may see your female children as an extra benefit of the relationship and if the woman is so involved with the pleasures given from the step father or boy friend she may miss clues of pending danger to female children.

Children will not talk about abuse because they may be so traumatized that their power of resistance is taken away from them. It is up to the woman to assume that all is not well in a home where female children are growing up. We do not know why men will abuse female children who are available to them, but they will. It is not up to the woman to trust, it is up to her and her responsibility to take children out of harms way and verify any and every concern of a silent child. Access to female children without the mother present is what causes sexual abuse in families, and the powerful temptation to try the forbidden is stronger that the understanding of right and wrong. Do not rely on moral values, it has not worked since the beginning of humanity females and children are considered as sex objects by the human mind and the subconscious will force select individuals to satisfy a pressing urge. These individuals will deny that these events ever occurred, it their mind it did not, the mind cannot comprehend such a terrible act, it does however happen, and it is up to women to prevent such acts.

Female children can also learn how to protect themselves by learning when to switch on their evil selves. An angry female child kicking and cursing can usually wake up an individual who is acting on evil impulses, and make them think twice before taking an innocent victim. Good obedient girls tend to be easy victims. Help your female child find the evil spirit within and learn when to use it to combat the evil spirit of a potential abuser. This is not the time for a Sunday school lesson or a lesson in submissive behavior, but a lesson in basic human rights.

Young girls have the right to feel and be safe, and have the right to fight for that safety. Children should not have any secrets therefore, teach girl children when they hear the word secret coming out an adult mouth they should go into safety mold. Tell the potential abuser that you are not permitted to keep any secrets and you will tell any and everything to all your friends and teachers. Loud mouth girls and active girls have a less chance of appearing as a victim. Bullies look for the same victims, so it is necessary to teach young children how not to let “goodness” set them up to be bullied. Sexual abuse is a form of bullying, and fussing, cussing kicking and screaming kids seldom get bullied. Do not let religious instructions make your child a victim. Put a guard on your mouth. The mouth is a weapon.Do not gossip, a dog that brings a bone, will take a bone. If you talk about people in the family, they will talk about you. Take trash outside; do not bring your trash into the family. Help members of the family who are confused to understand the rules.

Male members should watch out for the care of women and children in the family.

Male members should join together to help each other, and also to support female members of the family. Spouses of female members should not be able to abuse female members of the family. Male members of the family should visit female members of the family at least once a year, and present a supportive presence to the female.

Male members of the family should make phone calls at least three times a year to determine the health and emotional state of female members. Females sometimes mate and marry individuals who may have behavior adjustment challenges. Sometimes sisters and cousins will not discuss physical abuse by a mate.

It is up to the male members of the family to plan unscheduled visit to the homes of female members in order to check out how they are being treated. Abuse can continue if it is considered a secret, the bully seeks to separate the female from the rest of the family and threaten to take away privileges of food and shelter is the abuse is revealed. In modern day society females can go it alone and remove themselves from an abusive relationship. Before leaving, find the deepest part of anger within yourself and confront the abuser from anger not fear. Remember an abuser is a bully and a bully must be confronted with force verbally or physically. Never mate up with someone you fear, and as soon as fear presents itself in a relationship, take it as a warning sign and go into deep angry mode and evil intent necessary to protect. Convey that you will do whatever it takes to protect yourself and your children, and what you cannot do your family members will do for you, speak firm and confident and place love and forgiveness on the back burner until understanding and security can be understood and maintained. Female members of the family should try not to be attracted to the “bad boy.”

Male members should try not to be attracted to “bad girls.”

Present potential mates to the “family.” Family members should ask question on the person’s background.

The mother is the heart of the family. Women have the responsibility of caring for men. Black men respond to their mothers and consider them the source of their strength. Males must be mothered, they must at some point in their lives become “momma boys.”  Males who do not become “momma boys” can end up in the penal system. It is the role of the women, to keep the males out of the penal system. Males cannot see danger, they do not like rules or being told what to do. They do not know how to protect themselves from the traps set by society. Males will follow the pack, and fall off a cliff, it is up to the female to let them know about the edge, and the areas of danger. Regardless of what anyone says, never kick your male children to the curve.

A mother’s role is a life- time role, and God gives the women the strength to be mother and father if necessary. Save the child at all cost. Men who think they know more than their mothers usually end up in the penal system. If a male child ends up in the penal system, get him out as soon as possible, and move as quick as you can to new surroundings.

Drop any and all relationships, which do not support the care and nurturing of the male and saving his life. Sometimes you have to give up family, friends and lovers to save your child, but it is the woman’s responsibility to make that choice. If the female is not ready to sacrifice her life for the child, then she should prevent conception. Do not throw away life, all life is precious. The male child cannot make it without the mother. The child without a mother figure will become soulless. Some men have the ability to activate the female part of their being and become male mothers, and can bring forth a healthy male child. These men also make the same sacrifices that females make. They may have to give up lovers, relationships, family and friends who do not support their role as nurturer and care- giver of the child. Males compete with other males. The male-mother cannot be in a competing relationship with a male child and develop a healthy man.

To be a male mother takes a lot of support, hugs, kisses, healing bruises, and defending against the outside world. This type of support permits the manhood to thrive and come out in full without fear. You cannot force manhood with threats and cruelty, you will kill the spirit. The guidelines to raising the child, will be whispered in your ears from the heart of God, listen to that voice and no other. The new system of slavery is the penal system. The system send out teams of people to capture and bring in new people, and these people are branded for life.

The penal system supplies an underground employment, slave labor, human resources population for organized crime, and the various underground activities operated by a powerful control syndicate. Individuals can be trapped in this system for life, and will also produce children who will be the new members of the system. It is very difficult, almost impossible to get out of the underground system.

Women have the role and responsibility of keeping their male children out of the system. She will move to neighborhood where there are no hunting parties. If she does not have a mate to help her, she can place the male in a parochial school, which should provide some protection for males. If the female provides the love and support the male needs, then he will not leave home and join a group of other males, who will be captured. The female must give up any and all relationship, which discourages the commitment to the male child. Sometimes this may be the father, but often it is another male who sees the male child as a threat, and forces the female to give up the male child to the streets.

The female, after giving birth to a male child, should not enter into any relationship with anyone or anything, which prevent them from their prime responsibility, and that is to care for the male until he reaches the age and period of accountability. This time varies with different individuals; it however, does not happen until the third decade of the male’s life. It maybe earlier, or it may be later, the responsibility remains the same. Some mothers are lucky if the males enter into relationships with other females who are willing to act as invisible and silent guides for them.

These women, usually “momma wives” are able to guide and support these men to reach their highest potentials. All great men in history have “momma wives” or were “momma boys.” Look for educated people to associate with and mate. Intelligent people have intelligent children. If you do not select someone with a positive background, then use birth protections. Every life you bring into the world will be part of you for life. Careless sex is expensive. Do not ride the poverty train more than once. Get off as soon as you can, and select a different method of transportation. If you commit a felony, you make your life difficult. There are positions in life you cannot hold with a felony conviction. You can still make it, but your life will be harder, and you will have to start over in life. Life does not owe you a living. You owe life your best contribution

Do not blame other people for your problems. Life happens, you are still in charge.

We have had a member of the family serving in the Armed Service since the Revolutionary War in 1776. Give at least two years of service to the country. The service builds character. The service will also help you to get out of poverty

The service will also help you to get away from negative situations and people.

People and relationships are responsible for the choices you make. The choices you make will lead you to poverty or wealth. There is cause and effect. You are responsible for your own life. People can throw their garbage in your direction, but you do not have to accept it as your own. You can avoid family members with negative social behaviors. Pray for them, and leave them alone. Do not serve excessive alcohol during family gatherings.

Pay attention to the environment. Pay attention to the people in the environment

Treat people the way you want to be treated. Do not steal. Do not take other people’s property. Do not mate with blood relatives. Do not mate with relative’s mates.

Women are the nearest source to God, respect women. Take care of wives

Take care of children. Take care of husbands. Watch girl children around all male relatives. Watch boys around male relatives who are violent or angry

Develop a personal relationship with God.

Only idiots select drug dealing as a career. It does not matter how much money you make in illegal activity, you are still considered low class, and not welcomed at family events. Money does not make a person. Character and class defines a person. Class is a set of behaviors and respect. Basic education consists of a High School Diploma and at least two years of college. Desirable education consists of a High School Diploma and a four years degree. College graduates make more money than non-college graduates.

A college education will make you intelligent. It will help you to organize your thoughts and prepare you for the world of employment. Most jobs will not hire you if you do not have a basic education or a desirable education. When you get a job, sit down, shut up, listen and learn. Do not take anything that belongs to the company. All jobs have hidden cameras, and people to observe your behavior. Be on time, and do not take too many days off. Do not have family or friends call you on your job. Give your best service to customers. Do not give your opinion. If you cause trouble, or fight with co-workers, you will be considered a misfit and fired, so try to get along with people. If respect is important to you, study to become a professional, you will get respect. Associate with the best, and leave the rest. You are judge by the people with whom you associate.

Naomi’s family was still in Jacksonville Florida, and not being accepted by her husband’s family, left her on her own at the time of his death. She had at her advantage that she was a high school graduate and attended college in Florida where she was studying to be a music teacher. She put this career on hold to travel to New York City to marry her husband. With his death she found it necessary to find some way to support herself and her three children. She registered at the Manhattan School of Music, paying for her tuition through day’s work as an office cleaner. The children were lucky to be able to attend the daycare programs operated by the local church. Upon completing her studies at the Manhattan School of Music she was able to supported herself, teaching music, at home, playing the organ at several churches and training professional gospel singing groups. Old man Richardson, her father in law was in the meat packing business, and would bring by large amount of meat on a daily basis, and leave it for the family. The interaction with the Richardson’s was sparse, and aside from seeing her father in law, there was little or no interaction between the Richardson family and Naomi.  This life and these times played a significant role in the development of my careers as a public school teacher and the call to ministry.

My earliest memory of my mother relates to her working in churches, and developing programs for children. My mother was a music teacher and concert promoter. My brother and I were professional singers from the ages of three and fours years old. The fragile health of my sister did not permit her to participate in these music adventures. Her death at age 15 plunged my mother into a depression, which she handled by a more intense involvement with churches, music and program development. My brother and I resented it, but we were along for the emotional ride, and as young children there was nothing that we were able to do. Regular attendance at these church events and the intimate involvement with the operation and development of program activities provided a strong background for later program development.

Delores

By the age of twelve, I had already been elected the youngest superintendent of the Sunday school in the Baptist church. I was the lead singer with a group of adult gospel performers, and I was able to conduct a praise and worship service, in place of my mother. My mother earned her living from the performances and skills we had as children. I will admit, that I developed a love hate relationship with music, church, especially small, storefront churches. Today I am uncomfortable with ministers in financially challenged communities, collecting the small coins of women who are desperate for some relief from their pain and suffering, and hope by giving their last, God will provide some hope and release.

Church was a business to our family. We were church singers and performers. My relationship with God was not very clear. This relationship was defined by my mother and the music she performed as Church organist and choir director. I remember attending mega tent rallies. It was at these rallies that I learned that ministers depended upon the music and the organist to manipulate the emotions of the people. The preacher could preach the people into the readiness for a good shout, but it was the organist or the music, which gave the shout its beat. The preacher depended upon the organist to capture the rhythm of the heartbeat, and play a set of chords that inspired what was called the “holy dance.”  Looking back, I can see, that I was angry with God. We were in the God business and the music business as a means to avoiding poverty. I was on automatic pilot. I could carry out most of the responsibility relating to conducting service, except preaching, and if called upon, I could do that also. This was remarkable because this was before reaching the age of puberty.

Churches had an intimate relationship with children and their families, and some of the ministers played significant roles in our social life. As a child, somehow I thought it was wrong to rob women and widows out of their meager funds. I thought the church should be giving to these women rather than taking from them. This was the beginning of my resentment towards the “storefront churches.” I did learn that some churches were takers and some churches were involved in helping people to deal with life’s problems.

​This was the post depression period in America, and the Black church was the leading social service agency in the community.  The country met the needs of young people during the twentieth century. Those needs were met through the churches. The question is, can the children and grandchildren of that generation reconnect with God? Can the church be the vehicle for that reconnect?  The question is how concerned is the church about the children in the community? I find that there are many churches, but many seem to have little effect on the lives of children.Many of these children are from homes where their parents and grand parents were brought up in the church. What was it about the experiences with their parents and grand parents that appear to have turned some of them off from church? Are they disappointed in the God of their parents?
Do they like and respect the life of a Christian as represented by the people whom they know? My own personal belief is that many of the children, especially the males, were paying particular attention to what was happening in the world out side of the church. Their eyes and their ears could not avoid stories of racial oppression and stories of lynching in the southern states. Where was this God when Christians banded together and sang songs while dragging innocent Christian men of color, to share tree limbs as fruit hanging on un-permissioned  apple or oaks. The males had to leave the church and prepare to become warriors against an army of “Onward Christians Soldiers” marching out to hang. The males took the cross and turned it upside down and made them swords ready to defend innocent men and women on their knees. It was really the advent of world war 2, when Black men were sent off to war to learn how to fight that things really began to change for many people caught in this curse in America of white Christians behaving badly. Women continued to attend their storefront churches, and pray to a silent God, singing songs such as “ precious Lord take my hand, lead me on, let me stand.” And, they continued to stand on the promises of God.” The men said we will stand for ourselves and we will defend ourselves, and if Christian hate filled organizations come after us or our families, we will bring the fires of hell against them. Remarkably with such a changed attitude by black men, coming back from the war with guns, fist and a new attitude of fighting back, that caused racial changes in America, and not God. So, as the men avoided the storefront churches, and the store front churchwomen, the women and their children continued to attend these spiritual support centers.

I remember my childhood. My mother took me to a little church where she worked as an organist. We were in the church every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Saturdays my mother served as music director for a Seventh Day Adventist Church. Sunday morning we were up for Sunday school, morning service, and the afternoon and evening programs. I was really all churched out by the time I reached twelve years of age. The church was the means by which people could handle their life problems and maintain strong mental and emotional health. There were very few, if any, mental health clinics, but there were many small churches in each neighborhood. Reflecting back on that time, called post depression area, there were also few children who could be called “emotionally disturbed.” The pastor of the churches would focus on scripture relating to hardship encountered by peoples in biblical times. There was always some scripture or biblical story, which could provide some degree of relief from suffering. Children hearing the suffering of their parents presented before the congregation during what was called “testimony,”were careful not to add to the burden of their parents. They learn to adjust and accept the conditions of their lives. This was also the time when religion focused on the “hereafter life” rather than worry about the problems of this world. Oral tradition coming down from slave literature and the experience of slavery, suggest that one of the reasons that slave owners in the British North American colonies were encouraged to teach their slaves Christianity was that it was an effective means of control. Slaves, who through religion could be conditioned into a belief of heaven, were more content to accept the difficulties of the earthly world. Some even suggests that the conditions of slavery and poverty were “the will of God, and who are we to question the will of God.”

Slavery could not have existed without Christianity, and American Christianity wrote a different chapter in God’s book for His people. The new country started with two major decisions that would change who we were as a people and what is the true meaning of Christianity. The first was the decision was the decision to eliminate in importation of new human cargo from the continent of Africa as of 1808, requiring the slave population to procreate to increase the slave population in the new country. The second major decision was to expand the indoctrination of Christianity into the slave population. Slave would be taught how to read the Bible, and permitted to marry and raise families. Slaves would be given separate family living quarters where they could establish romantic relationships. The Methodist Church also instituted a program to train selected males of the slave population to go for training to become slave ministers. These slave ministers were given freedom to travel to other plantations to bring the Christian word to the slaves. This movement had hidden agendas for both the ruling population and hidden agendas for the slave population. Slave masters and religious leaders saw the advantage of the word and in the word. The Bible encouraged slaves to obey their masters, and be faithful to their families. With the Bible, the word of obedience, and submissive followers, America was able to expand its slave population without violence or the need to replace members from the old world. The slaves also used this period to develop their own agendas; it was during these periods where quilts with hidden messages were made providing detailed information on freedom routes for those slaves seeking to run away to the promise land of freedom in the northern parts of the continent of North America. The religious songs, which they were permitted to sing became coded messages of  opportunities for freedom. Negro spirituals were viewed by the white populations as spiritual expressions of devoted Christians to their white Jesus and approving white God. They were instead musical parables reaching the true God in the souls of a people yearning to breathe free. This was the roots of Black Theology and Liberation Theology, using the same God the same literature, but giving a different message. True God rein true to reach His chosen people. “ You may have the world but give me Jesus,” sang the slaves and their masters, always generous with intangible gifts, lavished upon the slaves more and ever more Jesus. Methodist Christianity gifts remained, despite efforts of many of  many to exchange some Jesus for some pieces of the world. Today slave church theology continues, as people give up the earthly rights for heavenly promises.

My spiritual formation was influenced by these stories, and by the acceptance of some of these women to the conditions of their lives. I separated God from the physical, social and economical environment I found myself living in. I wanted the kingdom in this life, and on this earthly plane. My view of God was that He was not a God of poverty and injustice, and with a change in mental attitude it was possible to achieve more and improved conditions in life. The advantage of going to church frequently and attending many different denominations is that you hear the word of God over and over again. Somewhere in those repeated words of the bible, the image of God emerges

Not the image of the God of my mother, father or grandparents, but an image of a God who walks in the middle of difficulty, and will see you through to the end.

Somewhere the image of God as the symbol of strength and endurance in the time of hardship comes through. From the perspective of slavery, the slaves were freed from the bondage of the pharoses of the Americas, and made a mass exodus into the wilderness of freedom. I see God in the events of the past. I see God in the survival of a people who could have been emotionally handicapped by the events of their lives. God held the emotional health of the people, and there were few if any recorded records of mass insanity as the results of the institution of slavery. The stories told in the Black Church has always been about endurance, survival and making a better life. The strength of the Black Church has been its ability to help people remember when they were in bondage, and how they got over that period. The strength was that it also preached a different theology. Free slavery is always difficult to handle because it is reinforced by a Christian belief and teaching that poverty is good and the closer you are to poor the closer you are to God. Throwing in passages like it is more difficult for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle, does not help at all. Free slavery requires that the slavery be voluntary and individuals must submit them selves to the institution with out whips or chains. Free slavery members cherish heaven more than earth, and the thought of meeting with the blessed savior is worth enduring a life of oppression and denial. The younger generation and the men were not buying this theology, and elected instead to take to the streets and fight for their piece of the earth pie. Many died in the battle for life dignity and humanity, but they does as free men, not free slaves. From the ashes mixed with the blood spilled in these countless battles, there grows a new kind of Black man in America, ready to die for the cause of freedom, while taking as many of the enemies of freedom who chose to challenge that right to manhood with them.

Caribbean, African and Asian ministers, understand oppression, but they often come from cultures, which expressed their frustrations out in the open. American Christianity did not permit the open expressions of frustration. Therefore, it is difficult for some to understand why they are resented in some Black Churches.

If you were a fighter against injustice it is not easy to emphasize with a culture that accepted the injustice, and released their frustration through unanswered prayers. The presence of some of the ministers is viewed as a condemnation of their survival tactics. The fact that if the Blacks in America had been more violent they would not have survived is lost on this group. History would have written about them as a glorious people, but a dead people. It is a respect for these differences that are important in ministry to a diverse population.

It is through slavery that Christianity is introduced. It is through Christianity that character formation is developed. Without Christianity there could not have been a slavery system. A violent oppressed population would have destroyed the colonies.

This understanding or lack of understanding could be the cause of some of the problems experienced by some ministers who seek to work with congregations of diverse ethnic histories ; the stories are not the same, not only are the stories not the same, but ministers have no knowledge or respect for these stories. It is difficult for a pastor coming from another culture and another history, to relate to how a people see God, and use Him in their worship.

Slavery  was the influential factor in the spiritual formation of Black people. Here the African American relates with the Jewish experience as covered in the Old Testament. America symbolized Egypt for many, and rather than one Moses, we have had several leading us out of bondage, but electing to stay in this land created by the blood, sweat and tears of their ancestors. African Americans were here before the mass on slaught of immigrants rushing to these lands to escape oppression greater than any African American could imagine. If this was the promise land for these millions of immigrants, we were not ready to give up the land of milk and honey for some wild fields of starvation. We knew we had to hustle the cows, and we sure knew how to milk them after years of service. We were ready to fight the killer bees for their precious honey, but we were determined to stay in this the land of our fathers.

The period after slavery, called the wilderness period or the segregation -racism period, is where Black people began to use the teaching of Jesus in the acts of forgiveness and acceptance. The south was a whipped enemy and we the peoples of color were the so called victors living in the death throlls of an enemy. America could not let half of its country die, so she patiently instituted a policy of benign neglect and let the south hang out to try and lick its wounds. The south, still holding in its soul the American spirit of a fighter decided to wage small private wars on the helpless victors living in its midst. Since the freed Africans Americans decided not to make a mass exit to the motherland of Africa, and decided to tie their fate with this New world and growing country, the southerners did all the could to make life miserable for them and work out all their frustrations and anger on an innocent population.

Living with the enemy they developed excellent skills of survival. The white man had used the Bible and the Christian religion as a means of social and mind control, Black people decided to use that same Bible, re read those chapters of scripture and come up with a theology of liberation. The Old Testament was now translated to relate to periods of slavery and oppression in America and how the Daniels the David’s and the Moses came through and guided the chosen people through difficult circumstances.

Black theology developed, a Black God and a Black Jesus were substituted for a long white haired father, and a blond blue eyed savior. This was a working God and a battle sophisticated Jesus, sometime making the appearance of a Fannie Lu Haymer, a Malcolm X, a Marcus Garvey, a Martin Luther King Jr.  President Lyndon Johnson, a Robert Kennedy. This Jesus came in all shapes sizes colors and faiths. One thing for sure, He was a fighter, and he was sent down from heaven to straighten out this black white mess in America.  God had to become real to a people who were living face to face with the realities of life. Black theology ministers had their hand full with helping people to accept the idea and fact that they, the peoples of color, were indeed the chosen peoples of the earth.  It was only with a complete knowledge of scripture that ministers were able to cite chapter and verse in the bible, which related to the conditions of their lives. The Old Testament demonstrated that, peoples of color, they were not alone in the trials they were going through. The New Testament gave them a personal savior who would carry their burdens and their pain and sorrow. The spiritual formation of any person of color with roots in the Americas centers in and around a personal responsibility and relationship with God and His son Jesus the Christ.

This is also the period where white Christianity began to demonstrate its hatred and frustration against the Black man and his attempts to have some of God’s kingdom on earth rather than waiting to get to heaven.

There are many different groups of color in America. Each has a different history and a different spiritual formation. Color is not the uniting factor in spiritual formation it is shared history. The Black American got through as a group. God was a group member.

If the Christian church did not have Jesus, the American institute of slavery would have invented him. Christianity and Jesus were taught in a certain way, which helped to make the institution of slavery manageable. This is not to say that the religion was not true, but the techniques used to teach it were for about economic and social survival than spirituality. I think Black men more than Black women came to this reality, especially during the period after slavery, when they were the victims of Christian abuse and lynching.

 

Back in the traditional white Christian storefront churches, the women would pray out their concerns, and lay before the church the hardships of their hearts. Lot of good music, and plenty of food, and the women would give their few coins to the minister, the only male in the church. After service my mother would return home to our apartment, which was sparsely furnished by her bi monthly welfare check. She had played the music, which permitted the women to shout and cry out their pain, and she, had shouted many times around the organ, not missing a single beat. Some how to me this was not God’s house, this was a house of pain and sorrow and the women felt better after releasing their sorrow load. At the age of twelve, I planned my escape and went out to search for my real family and my real church.  I was able to leave this church of sorrow, and go in search of my God. I did not have the words or the wisdom to put together the thought to help my mother understand that this was not my place. I was still acting out as second born in a place where I was receiving messages in my heart and soul, that these storefront churches and its people were second best.

​I did not see God working in these storefront churches and lives of these women. Each week they came back and repeated the same story, and added another pray event to the list. As a child, I had heard enough biblical stories to know that God had and does work in the lives of people. I could not see him working here. With the permission of my mother, I visited several churches to see if I could find a place where God was working. I did find such a place. The advantages of being a goodie good girl is that you are given a lot of trust, also noone believes you are smart enough to get into any trouble, the fact that I was over five feet seven inches and considered tall for a girl of twelve was also a great help. Early in the storefront game I came to the conclusions that there was something wrong in a group full of women with only one man in charge. These women dotted around this one male pastor like multiple wives sharing attention. Each trying to out dress and out cook the other for the pleasure of approval from the earthly lord and master; most had given up intimate relationships with one man and elected to engage in a spiritual relationship with another to the others exclusion. It was not a healthy sight to see if your eyes were open, and children are the silent eyes in these storefront churches. Most sit and squirm and wait for the age of consent when they can bolt for the doors and escape the world of deceit torture and pain.

There we few if any men in these storefront churches. Many have one man, who was the pastor, and women dragging their well-dressed children. The men would fight the women about attending these churches, and the more the men fought, the more devoted the women were to attending the church. Some thought it more important to attend the needs of the pastor than to the needs of their husbands and their homes.

Christianity as taught to the slaves required a condition of submission, and women were further taught that they must remain in a state of submission in their lives. These storefront churches appeared to play on this need for submission to a powerful force. It was, in some cases, the minister who had assumed the role of the master in the lives of these women. Men were reluctant to adopt a role of submission after centuries of oppression.

I found that there was a relationship between the ratio of men to women in the church, and the indication of expressed poverty. I also found that in churches where there were large male populations, the men worked with the minister in supportive roles rather than in submissive roles caring for the pastor and his needs. I used this observation in my selection of a church home.

I had a rich and varied religious ecumenical background. I was born a Catholic, raised in the Baptist church, baptized through submersion, attended the Seven Day Adventist church, attended several Pentecostals, and several churches that were called “Holy and Sanctified.” My extended family was members of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, after many searches and visits; I found my place in that denomination. At a young age, I was only permitted to travel the distance of Harlem, which could be considered less than three square miles. So my search for my God was kept in those three square miles.

Visiting many churches of varied denominations, I was looking for my true home. More importantly, I was looking for people who were not connected to me and my invisible life and when I entered their presence, their eyes turned to notice that I was there. There is a little light that goes off in the pupil of a person eyes when they see you and appreciate and acknowledge your presence. Where ever the source of the light comes from, it is not clear, but it catches the eye and the pupils light up and enlarge. It was Easter Sunday morning, and I had received a new outfit, which was the custom regardless of financial circumstances, I was looking good. My tall long legs were in its first pair of high pumps giving my five feet seven inches frame a taller older and more majestic look. I had been selected to enter in a model’s training class at our local community center, someone had said I had good bone structure and features. This helped me to know how to stand and project presence, so when I walked up the stairs to the entrance of one of the biggest churches in Harlem, I was greeter by this male usher, whose eyes lite up at seeing me.  It was a nice feeling and something about the church and its people made me feel welcomed, I knew I would come again.

I was impressed with the size of the church. I was impressed with the large number of men husbands and fathers in the congregation.  The church had beautiful stained glass windows depicting stories from the Bible in beautiful display. Thousand of people attended the church, and they praised God for the wonderful things that were happening in their lives. I wanted to know more about this God and this religion that was being demonstrated in the lives of these people. I joined the church. Joining was easy, telling my mother would prove to be the difficult part. I became totally involved with the church. I attended alone, but I was welcomed into the church family. No one in the church knew that I had an older sister dying at home or that on days when I did not have the car fare for the bus, I walked from 112th street and Eight Avenue to 137th Street and Edgecombe Avenue.  My aunt owned a beauty shop on 116th street, and I was able to get a position in the shop as a shampoo girl working for tips. These tips were my source of income and made it possible for me to attend events that my mother’s small welfare check could not afford. I became the best shampoo girl in the shop and a favorite of the customers who liked my pleasant personality and willingness to do the best. My aunt even taught me how to do hair, and as I grew older I was able to open up my own living room business doing hair for my friends and my mothers friends. I did not have a license, this was just your kitchen sink, wash, clean, press and curl. This skill has filled my empty pockets many a day.

I became a Sunday school teach and member of the senior choir, this was unusual, because I was only fourteen and the minimum age was twenty one. My height and the fact that I had a trained musical voice and could read notes, made it possible to pass the professional musical audition required for acceptance. This was my world, and I was the best in it. My sister died at the age of fifteen and I was able to escape the grief that had come over my family, not only because of the loss of my sister, but because family and friends made it clear that the best one had died. I remember hearing a neighbor saying upon learning that one of my mothers girls had died, and seeing me in the hallway, “Oh my God, the best one died.” The sounds still echo in my ears and I wondered when watching my mother going through uncontrollable grief, if she felt the same way?

I was a raising star in the church and my leadership roles continued and were supported. The choir was considered one of the best in New York City and we were able to travel for concerts. I even appeared with them in a concert at Carnagi Hall in New York City. Some of our first opera singers of color in the Metropolitan Opera Company came from St. Marks United Methodist Church. I was still living in poverty, but poverty was no longer living in me, I found my home and my people.

Through the early deaths of my father, sister and mother, I felt the presence of God in my life, and I knew that whatever the trials and adversities, I had a companion in life. Through his power and grace, I began to live the life of the people in the St. Mark’s church. Began to see wealth, happiness and prosperity demonstrating in my life. I wanted to help others to know this companion. I wanted others to know the power of correct focus and beliefs. Today I encourage people to find a place where God is working in the lives of people, and join those people. Sometimes you have to change your environment in order to change your life.

Harlem has many fine churches, and many store front churches. God has always been in Harlem, it was just necessary to find the body of people demonstrating his presence and working in their lives. I found the St. Marks Episcopal Church on 137th street and Edgecombe Ave. NYC. Today it is called The St. Mark’s   United Methodist Church. There were exciting programs from children. There were men in leadership roles. There were women walking with their heads held high and demonstrating the working of God in their lives. There were positive role models for living life in this exciting community called Harlem. Children in the community hung out in the church after school and evenings. The church was opened seven day a week. All social activities were held in the church. Young people learned to date from the church, and get married and have their children blessed in the church.

Whatever the community needed was found in the church, from financial planning, relationship building, management and administration, and a spiritual teaching about the love and will of God. I found my God, and I found my church. The church was so crowded that it was necessary to arrive early if you wanted a seat. The minister was feeding the people with the food from God, which they needed. Women would take young girls and mentor them into the roles of Christian women, and men would take young boys and mentor them into leadership roles and Christian manhood.

That was the twentieth century, and through the grace of God we made it through. We made it through wars, racial discrimination, and unimaginable challenges of life. We had the church to hold as a firm course and a supportive guide. As children we made it through and became adults demonstrating the blessings of God in our lives. The church was filled with children from the nursery school to the university levels.

The churches success was also responsible for its decline. The church taught its young people how to work and let God work in their lives. God did work in their lives. Many became success businessmen and women and professionals. Many demonstrating the workings of God, married, had children, and moved out of the community. They brought homes in the suburbs and other communities, they loved their church, but many could and would not send their children to the neighborhood schools.

As the school system in New York City began to decline, so did church attendance. People were not leaving the church; they were seeking better educational opportunities for their children. The church, without knowing it, had a vested interest in the quality of education delivered to the children in the community. It was directly affecting the bottom line of church operation. The challenges of the 21stcentury, is to solve the problem of educational delivery to poor children, and also to make the church more responsive to the needs of children.

Finding God was a transforming experience. I had to know that this God of my ancestors was the God for me. I had to take a step in the direction of faith and trust that God would be with me in every step that I took. It was necessary to deny the reality of my present existence and just the knowledge that I was made in the image and likeness of this God. I learned to look in the mirror and see a reflection starring back at me that was a reflection of the face of God. I learn to look into the face of other people and also see the same reflection. My decision was what would I do with this awareness of who I was. If I were made in the image and likeness of God, then I would have abilities to do things, which I could not imagine with my natural mind.

My natural mind look at the reality of my existence, and told me that there was no way that an individual would be able to over come circumstances with so many obstacles blocking the way. The still voice, which comes into your mind, during times of quiet and surrender revealed the thought that what man cannot do, God could do. It was around this time that I decided to take a closer look at these storefront churchwomen; I wanted to know what they had in common. I wanted to see the degree of their dependence on this church system. I noticed that all of them had made poor relational choices in their lives. I noticed that most if not all of them, were not in any positive relationship with men. In fact most of the content of their weekly testimony related to some negative behavior of friends or relatives with whom they associated. Most of them had a considerable amount of time to contribute to church activity. These activities included cleaning the church, arriving early to set up the church for weekday or evening services. The women would join together and cook all day Saturday and brought the food service to church on Sunday. Cooking and eating was an important part of church activity. There seemed to be a sense of comfort in the shared rhythms of their lives. They were the same, almost carbon copies of each other. The question still remains did the culture of the storefront churches create the culture of the women, or did the women and their life styles create the need for the storefront churches? Further study is needed to investigate who were the men who selected to set up these storefront churches and what were they getting from these all women religious empires.

It was necessary to travel outside of my faith tradition to find the meaning of God in my life. The journey to my truth came through Religious Science and Metaphysics. This is an interesting journey for an individual who was born Catholic, baptized in the Baptist Church, and spent most of her life as a Methodist Episcopal, which is now called United Methodist. These churches and denominations helped me to know the God of my parents; it did not help me to understand the meaning of a personal relationship with God. Frankly, I spent most of my formative years being angry with God. I felt that these people who worshipped God so faithfully got a bad deal from Him. I had listened to women praying to a deaf God, or at least one who was not listening.

Week after week they prayed to same prayer and asked for changes in their unchanging conditions. Personally I wanted out of there. I did not want to hear another prayer about financial woes, unhappy relationships, and disobedient children or absent husbands. Some how I knew that God was bigger than these problems, and people needed to demand more of this God, or give up serving Him. Religious Science helped me to understand the meaning of God, how He works, and how we, as humans, can get Him to respond to our wants and needs in life.

It was in Religious Science that I learned that we are each made in the image and likeness of God. He is the source, and we are one with that source. The knowledge of this truth prevents us from trying to solve our problems through external means. We have within us a higher and greater power than ourselves.  We do not need to manipulate people or events; the end results are often frustration, unhappiness and grief. I learned that a better way to approach problems is to look within ourselves.

“ God, the very basics of being, is always available to us at any given time.”  We have only to call upon the energy, light and love of this God, and willingly open ourselves to the inner voice to be directed into a transforming experience and perfect right action. The key to this guidance is a daily practice of prayer and meditation. It is through prayer that we learn to surrender to the power of our being, we learn to let go and let God. We let the wisdom and the power, which is God guide and sustain us.

We become conscious co creators of our life experiences, and we find that all things are possible.  I learned how to ask, listen, believe and expect, knowing that whatever I asked for would be given unto me filled to overflowing here and now. I learned to accept as my guide and daily prayer:

It was in Religious Science that I learned that we are each made in the image and likeness of God. He is the source, and we are one with that source. The knowledge of this truth prevents us from trying to solve our problems through external means. We have within us a higher and greater power than ourselves.  We do not need to manipulate people or events; the end results are often frustration, unhappiness and grief. I learned that a better way to approach problems is to look within ourselves.

“ God, the very basics of being, is always available to us at any given time.”  We have only to call upon the energy, light and love of this God, and willingly open ourselves to the inner voice to be directed into a transforming experience and perfect right action. The key to this guidance is a daily practice of prayer and meditation. It is through prayer that we learn to surrender to the power of our being, we learn to let go and let God. We let the wisdom and the power, which is God guide and sustain us.

We become conscious co creators of our life experiences, and we find that all things are possible.  I learned how to ask, listen, believe and expect, knowing that whatever I asked for would be given unto me filled to overflowing here and now. I learned to accept as my guide and daily prayer.

This brings me to the realization with respect to the relationship between religion and poverty. The question was is it hard to praise God from an extreme position of poverty? Is there was a relationship between poverty and education? Were some churches standing by and watching as children marched from failing schools into our prison system or into hopeless and meaningless lives? Knowing and unknowing parents were sending their children to schools, which did not prepare them for the work world the results is that some of these children would grow up and live hopeless lives of pain and suffering. The storefront minister saw these people after the disappointments in life had led them to the church as a refuge from pain. There had to be a way to change the direction of the lives of these storefront churchwomen and their children. It was obvious, that children who received quality education tended to make better choices in their lives.  I entered the education field, and with the help of God, I delivered quality education to children and the adults whom I had the privilege to serve.

Today my focuses on helping churches to become educational centers; this is not reinventing the wheel it is about encouraging churches to do what they do best. Churches are in the transformation business .The elimination of poverty is a transformational issue. Poverty clouds the lens of the eyes and makes it impossible to see the paths that God has prepared for His people. Churches have the power to make the blind see, and the lame walk. The healing powers of Jesus are found in the hearts and the hands of those who serve children.

Some of our old traditional churches are becoming like the  storefront churches, hanging on to the past and the pain and not permitting a new and young life to come in. When I first entered the church door or St. Marks as a child, there were no seniors standing at the door forbidding me to come in. I was welcomed to the house of the Lord and I shared my youth and energy with the church and the members shared their wisdom with me and I became a successful representation of God’s peoples work.

Today, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church sits in Harlem a shell of its former self. The church used to hold 3,000; today maybe seventy-five senior citizens attend on Sunday gripped in fear of the community Some stand in the door and prevent the youth of today from coming in. This was the church where we dated and met our future mates. This was the church were Friday nights youth and young families could be found dancing and making a joyful noise for the Lord. Ministers consider the church a punishment assignment and elect not to fight through resistance to bring God’s word, one former minister said, “ This church needs a few more deaths then it will be ready to move again.” There are no Sunday school or youth programs. The building is locked six days a week, and on Sunday, the one day that it is opened, the members quickly disappear after service to return to their homes behind locked doors of fear.

School performance follows church performance and needless to say the schools in the Harlem community  have been in decline for years, and the churches have set quietly by and permitted that decline to take place. I am not impressed with churches that have loud music, exciting music, and no children. If the children in the neighborhood are hanging in the streets and know more about the inside of a jail than they do about the inside of a church, then something is wrong. If we don’t help them with school, why should they attend our church? The saving your soul message does not work with a youth who is hurting in the mind and the body.

Young people are not like their grandparents, and in some cases slave ancestors. They do not say give me Jesus, and you can have the rest of the world. They feel that there is something wrong with a religion that supports poverty and oppression, and they are unwilling to attend church building, which they consider, the building centers for the weak. When a man has a job and is able to take care of himself and his family, then he is willing to praise the God who made it possible. When a student feels that the education system is giving him the tools that he will need to get a good job, then he will be willing to sit in school and listen to teachers who respect him and his ability.

The male is like the canary in the mind shaft. He will give the first signs that there is something unhealthy going on in the environment. Therefore, we must pay attention to the absence of men in our churches, homes, schools, and even universities. Jesus first healed then he taught scripture. He did not give scripture to the blind man or the cripple man; first, he healed the condition, which they were facing.

My spiritual calling was influenced by this history and these concerns. Inside of me a voice was saying, you know the way; you are chosen to be a change agent and a guide. There was no bright light or being knocked down on a specific road, it was just a quiet voice saying, tell your story. Share the knowledge of the God who brought you through poverty and despair without letting it change your soul or your heart. It was the combination of religion and education that helped in the understanding of how God works.

The early years of educational professional development started in the field of Early Childhood Education. Having obtained a position in a daycare Center as an assistant teacher, the thought of a serious career in education was not the prime interest of a young mother of two growing sons. The focus was on financial compensation and the easy availability to the needs of my own children. The fact that two years of college courses with a focus on education, provided the basic requirements for working as an assistant teacher for the Agency for Child Development. Working with children has always been an experience with the divine. Children are the heart of God, and very young children provided an opportunity to see God’s heart in its purity and simplicity.

Early Childhood teachers are taught and encouraged to see the whole child with limitless possibilities. Teachers organize and structure environments so that young children can explore their inner and outer worlds. There are no limits only opportunities. Very young children are not separated into racial or ethnic categories or classes. Early childhood is an experimental and developmental phase. It is exciting to watch children grow through their various developmental stages. The teacher guides the child through the adventures of life and watches the flower within the child blossom to unseen possibilities. These children are ready willing and able to interact with life and the excitement of what newness offers. There are no histories, there is only the now and the can be.

Young children crack the codes of reading and writing as the body and the mind adjust to the needs of the environment. The written and spoken language is all around them, so they learn to read and write. The arithmetic of life becomes part of them and they move through their world sharing the numbers of nature. The early childhood teacher understands this process and supports it development within the child.

As early childhood teachers, we prepare the students for the next step in their educational development. We test the students, validate their readiness for public school, and release them to their future. We were proud of our work and readily awaited the next group of eager young minds ready to take part in their own experience. We did follow through studies on the children sent to the public schools. We began to see an interesting and unexpected pattern developing. Reports on the children’s progress were positive until the third grade. Something was happening. These bright students were being classified as performing below standard in academic work. Some of the children who entered the public school as readers were presented as non-readers or below grade readers. What was happening to our bright children? The search to seek answers to these questions resulted in the decision to make the field of education a serious choice. This would also the first time that I started to ask God for some big commitments.  I would commit myself to God and His work, and I expected Him to commit to me in my preparation process. I stepped out on faith, and no money and applied to Columbia University. God met me at the University and made His presence known through making it possible for me to receive a full scholarship to the University.

My interest in urban society and the behaviors of people in those societies led me into the field of Urban Studies and Anthropology. I was interested in the American culture, and I wanted to know what was in the American culture that could cause failure in some children, and, if possible how does it happen. I did not like the word racism, and I was reluctant to use the word without some meaning behind the word, and how it would inform my interest. Just to say racism, would not help me to understand why some children were failing in some schools in some communities.

Completing my undergraduate work at Columbia, I applied to Teachers College, Columbia University, to begin my formal teacher education process. My previous two years of course work in education, completed at the City University provided me with the educational background necessary to be admitted to the Master of Arts program. In less than a year, I had completed the program, and was awarded the Masters of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education, with New York State certification in Nursery through Sixth grades. This Master of Arts program in early childhood education provided me with the opportunity to examine the state of the arts programs in early childhood education. This experience supported the position I had held from working in the field, that the early childhood teachers were dedicated to all students, and the programs encouraged growth and development. I then decided to take a masters in science in education and take a look into the regular education field in an effort to determine where and when did problems develop and how. I one year after an intensive study of the curriculum and instruction department, I received the Master of Science in Education and some interesting insights. These were major insights, and the task of dealing with these insights became the major focus of my ministry

My education, experience and research had demonstrated that some teachers were programmed to see children as failures, and based on this programming they expected segments of the population to perform below par academically. The question is, how do you prove this knowledge, how do you change the process of programming and expectations, and is it possible or probable to do so?

Today, I attend the Riverside Church in New York City. It reminds me of the St. Mark’s of my youth. During the years when I worked as a public school teacher in the Harlem and Washington Heights areas, I found that I needed some help to improve the academic performance of my children. I approached Riverside church about the possibility of starting an after-school program in the church, and bring my class there to do additional work with them. The church agreed, and provided the space and resources for the project. I was able to reintroduce the missing component of religion back into the educational process.

If this is what is going on in educational preparation institutions, then how is it possible for the American school population in general, and the New York City School population in specific, to provide a quality education for its students?

My mother during the world War 2 years, tried to make a change in the lives of children and people. She turned her pain into a motivation to help others. The threads of life, which connect human kind demonstrates how we can and must help each other on personal and spiritual levels to solve our common problems. We exist in several streams of life at the same time. During poverty and struggle, we combine our life stories and skills to help each other. Naomi led the foundation for educational programs in churches while at the same time battling poverty, death of a spouse, pending death of a child, and death of a child. She could not have done it alone, the sisters stepped in and provided the support services needed. Seeing how a family survived adversities and challenges provided the guide curriculum on how we serve others. God sends angels into our lives to do his physical work. Uncle Harper, was such an angel sent by God to do his work, he would see to it that there was always fresh bread and rolls on the table each day, as he and aunt Jestine became a supportive presence in our lives. When it was time for me to get married, it was Aunt Jestine and Uncle Harper who stepped up and made my wedding a special event. Uncle Harper bought me a beautiful wedding cake and provided the wedding car. Little Jess was my flower girl, and Stanley was the ring bearer. We look back in the threads of our own families and we can see where the angels stepped in and kept the thread strong and connected. Even the negative stories of our thread play a role in the strength of the connection. The positive and negative stories make the richness and wholeness of the family.

I was blessed with nothing, so I expected nothing of life. My disadvantage became my advantage. I was on the bottom financially, and I had to make my way up. I had my mother’s intellectual ability, and I knew I had to make my own way in the world. Having experienced poverty, I made a conscious decision to avoid any suggestions or behaviors, which, in my opinion, would lead me into poverty. I did not associate with people in poverty, and I was careful to avoid behaviors, which I saw in my family, would lead to a path of downward mobility. I did neither alcohol nor drugs, and I focus my drive on education as my prize.

1 Comment
  1. thank you for all your efforts that you have put in this. Very interesting info. “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” by Clive Staples Lewis.

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