Most Of What I Learned About Black History, I Taught Myself

Today is the last “official” day of Black History Month. I celebrate every day and continue to share knowledge on a regular basis.

There’s so much Black History that I didn’t learn in school. When I was 15 years old, I went to the library and borrowed Mary McLeod Bethune’s autobiography. My need to learn more led to me studying African Kings and Queens. I found this book. If you haven’t read it, it’s an empowering read:

Next, I discovered the various inventions that wouldn’t exist were it not for a Black man or woman. Here is a partial lists:

Then, I read Malcolm X’s autobiography and he woke up the militant spirit in me: “We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” I became proud of my people and recognized we have persevered and succeeded against all the odds and obstacles that have been placed in our paths.

Finally, Fannie Lou Hamer made me even more proud to be a Black woman and honor her and others like her who secured my right to vote. Fannie Lou Hamer said, “Actually, the world and America is upset and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more.”

In studying Black History, I found my voice. My voice to speak out about injustice and demand to be treated right. Studying Black History made me recognize I have a legacy of determination, intelligence and ingenuity pumping in my veins. I have no other choice but to be the best at whatever I set my mind to do. It’s in my DNA!

What Black History knowledge didn’t you learn in school?

The Price of Silence

I didn’t watch the R Kelly documentary last night, and don’t plan to watch. I have read some of the posts that have came across my newsfeed. So, teenage girls are fast and were given what they wanted 😳😑😑. Men have been doing it forever, so it’s ok?!! Nothing was said about Elvis Presley and other white men?!! I almost can’t place into words my reaction to these statements!

Are y’all serious?! So, this is how we make it okay to victimize young people?!!! I wonder if it was your child would you still have those feelings? We have sexualized Black children and held them accountable like they are adults, and this is wrong! These are children! There are grown women and men that have been bamboozled by abusers and we expect children to recognize an abuser and say no?!

I am a victim of sexual abuse by a family member and an authority figure. I was just a child and didn’t know what to do. I told on the authority figure and he publicly shamed me while I wasn’t present. He said I was lying on him, and people believed him. I never looked at him the same again. I forgave him for my growth, but I told my mom if he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness in hell will he lift up his eyes.

I’ve never said anything to the family member. Since I’ve been grown, I finally told my mom. I forgave the family member too, but a conversation needs to take place for that person to know the affect of their actions. The sad part is the person probably doesn’t even remember because I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Quit blaming victims. If you still choose to listen to R Kelly’s music that’s your choice, but don’t blame victims to make you feel better about your choice!

Mama – I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You

“She was there when I took my first breath, and I was there when she took her last.”

I don’t know who is responsible for this quote, but I lived this quote.  On November 21, 2017 at 5:50 am my mom took her last breath and I was with her.

I was determined to stay the night with my mom, and I did.  Even though I knew she would not be alone because God would be there, I wanted to be there with my mom as she made her transition.  If anyone had told me I would have had to make difficult decisions that involved my mom, I would not have believed them.

My mom always said if anything happens to me, you fight for me to live.  I took that literally.  I struggled with saying yes to hospice because to me that meant I was giving up on her.  I prayed and realized I wasn’t giving up on her.  When I was able to truly look at my mom as she lay in the hospital bed, I could see that she was suffering.  She was in so much pain, and not allowing the respirator tube to be removed was delaying the inevitable

In the circle of life children are supposed to bury their parents, but who wants their parents to die?!  We want them to live forever.  I wanted my mom to be here to see my granddaughter grow up and graduate from college.  I wanted my mom to see my daughter have children of her own.  I wanted my mom to be here to make me laugh.  She kept me laughing with the things she said and her views on life.  It seemed like a lot of my family members talked to my mom and she would have the good family tea!  She knew all the family gossip and shared it with me.  

We shared a lot of good times.  We didn’t always agree and during her sickness she was frequently upset with me because she said, “I thought I was the boss of her – LOL.”  I had to be firm and take over medical decisions and other things, which she didn’t like.  Everything I did was for her good.

My advice to anyone whose parents are still alive:  cherish the moments.  Please don’t get caught up in not speaking to them or having petty arguments.  Once your parents are gone, none of that stuff matters.  Instead of creating heartache, make memories with your parents.  The last thing you want to have is regrets or feelings of guilt because you didn’t treat them right.

I don’t have any regrets.  I treated my mother with the respect she was due.  You couldn’t have thin skin around my mom.  She equipped me to be a word master.  I know how to fight with words.  I learned to laugh at words that were meant to hurt me.  She taught me how to accept myself – flaws and all.  Being called fat was funny because I am.  She taught me that.

She taught me to love God.  She taught me how to be saved.  She taught me how to love my family.  She taught me that.  She taught me how to bake a cake.  She taught me how to clean a kitchen.  She taught me how to mop the floor.  She taught me how to wash clothes.  She taught me all of that.

This past year has been a lot of firsts for me:  first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s Day, first Mother’s Day, and first birthday without my mom.  I am an extension of her.  I look like her.  This curly hair came from her.  I find myself saying some of the same things she used to say.

I know my life will never be the same because she’s gone. I miss you so much Ma!  My life is better because you chose to give birth to me.  This first year without you hasn’t been easy and my heart will never be the same.  I’m strong though and I will continue to thrive because you’re my mom.

Chapter 49

Some people believe I do the most for Leo season and my birthday. Well, I do! I turned it up a notch this year because I’m grateful to be in the land of the living. This past year has not been an easy year for me.

I learned more about myself and the sacrifices I would make for someone I love. I discovered that I had more strength than I realized. I learned that even in the midst of the pain and grief that I yet feel, I can make it. I learned that Chapter 48 prepared me for Chapter 49.

It’s my first birthday without my mom. For 48 years I had her in my life. This new normal has not been easy. This year required me to be extra. If I didn’t, I would’ve focused on how much I miss my mom and the birthday greetings she faithfully posted every year.

I would’ve focused on how much I miss the cake she made special just for me – German chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting because I don’t like German chocolate frosting. I would’ve spent today being sad instead of glad.

Through all I have been through I have learned the importance of carpe diem – seize the day! I’m determined to live a life of no regrets. I want to make the most of every moment I have remaining on this earth. I’m determined to have meaningful relationships, and appreciate when someone cuts me out of their lives because they are doing me a favor. They are helping me to invest in those that want to have meaningful relationships with me. I’ve learned that life is short and I should experience everything I want to experience.

Missing My Mom

Thinking about my mom today. It’s been three months since she passed, and she’s in my thoughts daily. I had a good chuckle last night and today with my niece about her.

When I lived in ND in the 90s, my niece came to live with me. One day we were gone all day. I don’t remember where we went. We didn’t have cell phones. We arrived home to a note on my door from the military police. The note said “Call your mom.”

My mom had the military police come to my house😂😂😂😂. The fact that she was able to even find their number was hilarious!! She was concerned because she had been calling and couldn’t reach us.

This will be funny forever!!

Chapter 47 of the Book “Annjanette”

Tonight is the last night I will be 47 years old. The night before my birthday I always reflect on the year. I think about my trials, tribulations and triumphs. My goal is to be s better me every year, and vow to not let the same things that caused me to stumble this year, cause me to stumble next year.
I have dealt with some things that I have never dealt with before, and some things that I thought I would never have to deal with again. I look back in amazement that I’m still standing. Like Marvin Sapp says in his song “Never Would’ve Made It.”

I’m stronger, I’m wiser

I’m better, much better

When I look back over all you brought me through

I can see that you were the one I held on to

The you that I held on to is God. I don’t know how anyone can navigate life without Him. I’ve been through some things this year that I could have legit lost my mind, BUT GOD said not so!! 

I took control of my health for real this past year. Not how I had done in the past, but with consistency. Little steps turned into bigger steps and now I see my progress. I’ve lost 75lbs so far!


I’m trying to live a life of quality not quantity. I don’t want to live a long time aided by medication. I want a quality life that includes living life to the fullest while healthy. 

As I reflect, I have no regrets. Every test has become a part of my story. My story shows the essence of Annjanette. My story has helped develop the strong, God-fearing confident woman I am today.

I’m ready for Chapter 48 of the book titled “Annjanette.”

46 Life Lessons I’ve Learned…


Today is my birthday and I was reflecting on the life lessons I’ve learned over the past 46 years. All of these lessons have truly molded and shaped me into the woman I am today.

These life lessons are not listed in order of importance, and there’s a story behind each lesson.

1. I have to love myself.

2. I’m my own Stan (fan)!

3. Sometimes I have to encourage myself.

4. God has to be a priority in my life.

5. Family is important.

6. Treat others the way I want to be treated.

7. Forgiveness frees me.

8. I can do bad by myself.

9. I know my worth.

10. Common sense will get you further than book sense.

11. Don’t lie.

12. Integrity is important.

13. Word is bond.

14. Be careful of the company you keep.

15. Be a good friend.

16. It’s not always about me.

17. Karma is real.

18. My husband is my best friend.

19. Happiness is a choice.

20. My life has purpose.

21. Hell is real.

22. Be authentic.

23. Live a life without regrets.

24. Stress kills.

25. Be informed 

26. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

27. Read on a regular basis.

28. Be open to constructive criticism.

29. Travel as often as I can.

30. Invest in myself.

31. Enjoy life to the fullest.

32. Pray.

33. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

34. Cultivate friendships 

35. Don’t let anyone misuse me.

36. Be honest.

37. Laugh often

38. Have a sense of humor.

39. Don’t be judgmental.

40. It okay to say I’m sorry.

41. Everybody will not like me.

42. Sex is good.

43. Be a good parent.

44. Be trustworthy.

45. Don’t go to bed angry.

46. Eat something you’ve never eaten before.

Cheers to these life lessons, and I can’t wait for the next 46 more! Happy Birthday to me!

To Be A Minority & Poor In Small Town America

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I grew up in what used to be called Pyramid Courts, which is now named Leroy McBride.  In these projects, I had some of the best times of my life.  It’s quite disturbing to read about the despair of the current residents.

Reading the article (the link is below) disgusted and angered me.  To read how those that are poor or less fortunate have been marginalized and their voice silenced further demonstrates how being a minority and poor is a double negative.

Chaos In Cairo
If you are disturbed as I am, please contact the HUD regional office and demand prompt action be taken to remedy this atrocity!

Chicago Regional Office

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Antonio R. Riley – Regional Administrator

77 West Jackson Boulevard

Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: (312) 353-5680
Fax: (312) 913-8293

Fathers – A Lasting Impression 

  
I was getting ready for work this morning and I began to think about my dad. As my birthday is fastly approaching, I wondered what would my dad think of me. I wondered would he like the person I have become, and would he be pleased with my morals and values.  

Then, I thought of one of my most vivid memories of my dad. I had to be four or five years old. I was living in Henry Horner projects – 1847 W Lake St, Apt. 806. I still remember. It was in the winter time and I was standing in front of my school. My mom had bundled me up and no one else was standing in front of the school. I realize now she must have dropped me off early to make it to work.

 
This man pulled up in a car and called my name. I went to the car and he said, “do you remember me?” I nodded my head and said, “Yes, you’re my daddy.” He had me get in the car to stay warm and he talked to me until it was time to go into the school. He told me he hadn’t seen me in a while, but that was going to change. I later found out I wasn’t seeing my dad because of my evil stepfather, but that’s another story.

Father’s make a permanent impression on their children. The time you spend holding your children when their babies, allowing them to sleep on your chest, feeding, bathing and all the other quality time you spend with them makes a difference. Even though time had passed, I knew “that man” was my daddy.

After my dad passed, I got a tattoo over my heart that says “Daddy’s Lil Girl.”  My dad always called me “daddy’s lil girl.” I was in my twenties and my dad was still calling me his “lil girl.” The special bond I had with my father has kept me grounded. When I feel like fighting as my mom would do, the peacemaking spirit I received from my dad prevails. My dad was the first man that loved me unconditionally. He showed me what unconditional love from a man looks and feels like.  

This is a call to action for father’s everywhere. I pray it’s not too late for you to make memories with your children that will help you leave a good permanent impression on your children. What do you want your children to say about you? Do you want them to remember you with good feelings, or do you want them to learn the hard way that you failed as a father. I plead with you to make a renewed commitment to your children and be the great father your children need you to be in their lives.