“The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are.” — -Maya Angelou.
My Sociology 101 class taught me the importance of a well-researched history; also, how ignorance can be expensive.
In my freshwoman class, a Scripture Union classmate was loud, and she disapproved of my choice of clothing — jeans trousers.
The professor walked in, listened to her stupid argument — her Bible and her Pastors were against women wearing pants. The professor laughed and assigned the class a research project — the history of fashion in Nigeria. The result — the trouser was not part of men’s wear.
What do you know about your great-grandmother, the US Slave Trade/Slavery, Native and African-Americans, Virginia Breeding Farm, The Wet Nurse Slave, Osu in Nigeria, Nigerian Women’s War, the Caste System in India, South Africa Apartheid, The Black Wall Street, Japanese Comfort Women, British Colonization, Holocaust, and the defunct Soviet Union?
One Medium writer left me a comment last month and that inspired this article. He is an African American or a Nigerian-American. His comment revealed his primitive knowledge of Black American history and I also noticed in his long essay, “a respectability poltics” entitlement.
The best entitlement for us is our well researched family history. Go for it!
My mothers and her sisters were passed over for their brothers to attend school.
One of my aunts stubbornly waited for five years before her progressive father permitted her to attend high school.
Why? Because they were women. My younger aunt, Victoria, refused to get married and challenged her widowed father and the oppressive culture— she got her way!
I did not have my aunt’s experience. I went to the school when I turned six, and in fact, my father took me to school on the first day.
My aunt, Victoria, who waited for five years before seeing the four walls of class one (7th grade), never gave F — about what you think about feminism. She was a feminist. My grandmother, who fought in the Nigerian Women War to stop double taxation for women, was a feminist.
Are you a feminist?
I learned a lesson from my mother and aunts’ experience never to compare my somewhat “privileged” upbringing with others because I’m not in their shoes.
Get to work and research your own history. Take your time and remember, it can be mentally draining. You will be surprised by what you will discover about yourself and your people.
And, if you live in the US, research African American and Native American history if you have the time.
What are your challenges today?
Remember — -
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Empathy works better than assumptions.
Work very hard to understand the life of your mother — -the human being you don’t know.
Then try to listen to your spouse, a friend, colleague, and someone you disagree with — — find out why they do what they do. It takes time, but you’ll be better off — peace and prosperity.
Have a conversation or interview with your mother or a woman over 70 years old and research your family history.
Help yourself grow.