My parents didn’t let the lack of black history in our schools keep us from learning our culture and history. Growing up in my activist family in Detroit, I was surrounded by Langston Hugh’s books and Paul Robeson’s records. I learned black history and the necessity of fighting for our rights around the dining room table, listening to my father, then known as Rev. Albert B. Cleage’s sermons and participating in all that my extended family did – published newspapers, rode around in sound cars campaigning for black candidates before that was mainstream. I picketed schools, boycotted stores that didn’t hire black and marched to Freedom down Woodward Ave. and watched dogs attacking freedom marches in Birmingham, AL. There was Vaughn’s bookstore and later the Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural centers. There were speakers at church like Rosa Parks and Kwame Toure (then Stokely Carmichael).
I heard about my grandparents lives growing up in Alabama and Tennessee during segregation and their migration north to Detroit in search of a better life. I’ve passed this heritage on to my children and share it with my grandchildren. I blog about our history to share with my children, grandchildren, extended family and others.