Make Black History Personal: # 19 Meeting Opera Diva Leontyne Price

In 1978, the year after I integrated the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), I attended the organization’s annual conference in  Washington, D.C. It’s called “Continental Congress” and is several days of meetings along kicked off by a huge opening night gala. The concert in 1978 was performed at DAR’s Constitution Hall by the amazing opera diva – Leontyne Price. If you don’t know who she is – Leontyne Price, who is still living and inRead more

Make Black History Personal: #18 Uncle Freddie Goes to War

It’s odd in a family where we have military service that goes back to the earliest colonial wars that I can only find one African-American ancestor who was a member of any branch of the United States military. That was my uncle, Frederick “Freddie” Dickinson who was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 16, 1921. I knew from this photo dated 1950 that Uncle Freddie served in the Army during the Korean War. When I researched who of my Black ancestorsRead more

Make Black History Personal: #17 Grandma’s Dream Book and the Numbers

When my sister and I were young girls, we would get to spend the weekend with our paternal grandmother who lived in Hamtramck, Michigan. Hamtramck is a small city surrounded by Detroit that grew up around the auto factories. Funny, I remember Grandma’s house on Grand Haven Street like it was yesterday – The big console TV sitting in the living room with the stuffed pheasant on the top that Grandpa had shot The polished dining room table where weRead more

Make Black History Personal: #16 My Dad and the Detroit Race Riots

On June 20, 1943, my father went out on a Sunday afternoon date to Detroit’s Belle Isle. Back in the day, Belle Isle was this amazing recreation venue on an island in the middle of the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor, Canada. It was free and it was open to Blacks and Whites. Although there’s been a severe decline in the island in recent years, it’s still a place where people go to relax during the summer. Over theRead more

Make Black History Personal: #15 A Story of Slavery in My Family

The picture below is my great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Parker. He was born April 1878 in Harris County, Georgia; youngest child of Isaiah Parker and Charity Ann. Charity Ann was Black and one of the slaves owned by Isaiah’s father, the Rev. Isaiah Parker. I’ve been able to find a fair amount of info on the Parker family but not much on my slave ancestor, Charity Ann. Funny thing, is that I feel so connected to her because of all theRead more

Make Black History Personal: #14 Three Generations of Women College Grads

Our family history of attending college was something that was drilled into my brain from my earliest years. What I think made our family unique was that we had three generations of Black women in America who graduated from college. I’m very proud of the history laid out for me by my mother and grandmother that led me to college and law school. My maternal grandmother, Hazel Edna Weaver attended college at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She started inRead more