My Wordsmith Vantage Point

I first heard about this book when I haphazardly turned the radio dial to NPR one afternoon. Comedian/author Baratunde Thurston talked about and read an excerpt from his satirical memoir How To Be Black.

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When I heard Thurston read about his first experience with the term “Oreo”, I burst out laughing. I knew exactly what he was talking about. I didn’t need any further convincing and I knew that I had to have that book. Not only did I feel that Thurston’s story mirrored my own, I shared in his sense of humor on growing up black in America.
Once I had my copy in hand, I couldn’t stop laughing. Much of Baratunde’s Washington, D.C. roots and his attendance of a prominently white school instantly related to my story. He has a way of giving the reader a view of his world without any aggressive undertones or hard agendas. He even made part of the book a practical guidebook for anyone looking to befriend or work with a black person, become the next black president or challenge anyone who says they speak for all black people.
Take a listen here to the author’s NPR interview. You can also purchase How To Be Black on Amazon.

Enjoy!

~ Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Student Debt Weighs Down Women More. Blame The Wage Gap http://n.pr/1grnwKZ

Spring brings out action.

Spring brings out action.

Happy First Day of Spring Everybody!

I truly love this time of year because nature is beginning to blossom and warm up again. With the spring equinox upon us, it’s a great time as any to spring into action ourselves. I came up with five things you should do in the springtime:

1)      Do some spring cleaning: Whether it’s your house, car, wardrobe or Facebook… we are all in need of a little cleaning. So why not simplify your life and free it of that clutter?

2)      Spend more time outside and less in front of the TV: With the temperature slowly rising, pick an activity to do outdoors. Fly a kite, play baseball, ride a bike, run or walk a marathon, even reading a book outside will count!

3)      Start a garden: Whether it’s a vegetable or flower garden, this time of year is perfect to get your green thumb crackin’. Personally, I’m more partial to fragrant flower gardens.

4)      Shop at the farmer’s market: If you’re not into planting and tending your own garden then the farmer’s market is the best next thing. It’s a little pricey, but the payout is worth it in the end. Remember: Support local businesses and buy locally.

5)      Take a mini-vacation: Oh how I love a vacation! And a mini-vacation is just as wonderful. Even if it’s as simplistic as a picnic at your nearest state park or grand as having a spa weekend. A mini-vacation is a great refresher.

I hope my five ideas were helpful to you for spring 2014. Have fun trying them!

Enjoy!

~Anita

 

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

8 Things She Secretly Loves.

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Love is always on the horizon

Love first happened to me in my early twenties. I thought I knew everything about it because I was an adult and it was my first real relationship. Man, did I go through some trials and errors to find out differently. A decade, one kid, and several life lessons later, I’ve found that there are many layers to love.

My first time truly falling in love I became enthralled with the throes and heart trimmers that came along. It was an amazing and unique experience; however, I chose to overlook the pitfalls of selfishness and dishonesty because I thought that was what you did in love’s namesake. I loved unconditionally, but, eventually, it ended with a painful reality. Lesson: Love can easily turn into heartbreak and betrayal.

When my son was born, the first thing I did was cry. It was a magical, overwhelming moment that words couldn’t describe. I just know that my heart was so full of love which transcended any human comprehension. Through the adventures of parenthood, I’ve found that a child’s genuine love can make many things in life seem trivial. This kind of love makes you see the world in an unorthodox way.

The saying “you can’t choose your family” is definitely true, but often times there’s a reason for the family you were born into. For every relative that I haven’t meshed well with, there is another that I’ve established an amazing connection with. Through the joys of sibling-like relationships and heartbreak of disappointment, I’ve learned family will always be your first test of love and loyalty.

The honesty and natural growth of friendship that I’ve received in my lifetime is immeasurable. There’s over seven billion people on this planet and only a scant few have become my close friends. They accepted me and allowed me to be who I am, in all my imperfection. The impact of their love and sincerity has forever changed my life. I’ve learned to cherish my friends because a great friend is difficult to find.

Now that I’m in my early thirties, my perspective on love has positively shifted. I’ve learned that love comes in many forms, but it’s up to me to value it while I have it. There will always be givers and takers in relationships, yet I have influence on the balance between the two. In love, I’ve encountered a blissful passion beyond compare and a darkness that knew no bounds in sadness. Love and I had our falling out, and it lasted for a while. Ultimately, I’ve learned that if I don’t give it another try then I won’t know the next great love of my life. With one new relationship on the horizon, I pray for an absolute and complete love that will last for as long as it needs to.

Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

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The Loving Family

Did you know that Richard and Mildred Loving broke down racial barriers with the landmark civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia? Growing up in Essex County, Virginia, I didn’t realize that I lived minutes away from the Loving family, who lived in the neighboring county of Caroline. They were instrumental in legalizing interracial marriage (specifically between blacks and whites) throughout the South.

Mildred Jeter was born on July 22, 1939 in Central Point, Virginia. She was of African-American and Native American ancestry. Richard Loving, who was white, was born October 29, 1933 in Central Point as well, and he first met Mildred at her school. Eventually, the two quietly started dating despite their six-year age gap and, when Mildred became pregnant at the age of 18, the two decided to get married.

In June of 1958, they married in Washington, DC because the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 prohibited interracial marriages in their home state. They returned to Caroline County and were arrested. In 1959, they pled guilty to violating the act and were given a one year suspended sentence under the condition that they leave Virginia and not return for 25 years. They challenged the law and, in March of 1966, the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the law. By June 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled the law unconstitutional. Because of this ruling, the 16 states that still had anti-miscegenation laws on their books were forced to repeal them.

On June 29, 1975, Richard Loving, 41, was tragically killed by a drunk driver while his wife lost sight in her right eye. Mildred Loving passed away from pneumonia on May 2, 2008, at the age of 68.

Richard and Mildred became reluctant activists in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and forever changed the view of many on interracial marriage in the South.

Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Resources:

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia)
Biography (http://www.biography.com/people/mildred-loving-5884)

Huntress626:

I’m borrow this blog from Mr. Sama. We ladies can step our romance game up for our men.

~Anita

Originally posted on James Michael Sama:

Upon writing articles about men putting more effort into relationships, and being more romantic (for example, the 8 Acts Of Chivalry To Bring Back ), I often receive questions from women about what they can do to be chivalrous or romantic as well.

Well, ask, and ye shall receive.

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Slip the waiter your credit card.

As reflected in many of my articles, I always insist on picking up the tab at dinner. Always. That also means that I expect for the bill to come after dessert and I’ll be taking care of it.

If you want to do something special for your guy, it would be a nice unexpected surprise to secretly take care of the bill without him noticing. Who doesn’t like pleasant surprises?

Be affectionate in public.

No, don’t jump on him in line at the grocery store, but guys enjoy affection, too. Putting your arm around his…

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Did you know that Jacob Lawrence was one of the most notable African-American painters of the 20th-century? The Harlem Renaissance artist was uniquely known for his portrayal of African-American life. Lawrence’s 60-panel Migration Series, which was painted on cardboard, gained him national recognition when he was just 23-years-old.

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Jacob Lawrence

On September 7, 1917, Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was thirteen when his father, mother, sister, and brother moved to New York City. In an attempt to keep him busy, his mother enrolled him in classes at an arts and crafts settlement house in Harlem. The young Lawrence often drew patterns with crayons. Early on, he copied patterns of his mother’s carpets; leading one of his art teachers to note Lawrence’s great potential.

Dropping out of school at sixteen, Lawrence went to work in a laundry and a printing plant. He continued honing his craft by attending classes at the Harlem Art Workshop. His classes were taught by the renowned African-American artist Charles Alston, who eventually urged him to attend the Harlem Community Art Center, led by the sculptor Augusta Savage. While at the centers, Lawrence studied African art, Aaron Douglas’s paintings, and African American history. Savage played a key role in securing Lawrence a scholarship to the American Artists School and a paid position with the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a program founded by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. While at the WPA, Lawrence studied and worked with Alston and Henry Bannarn–both notable Harlem Renaissance artists.

Lawrence began painting in a series format in the late 1930s, completing 41 paintings on the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the revolutionary who established the Haitian Republic. Other series followed on the lives of the abolitionists Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and John Brown. The Migration of the Negro, one of his best known series, was completed in 1941. The series depicted the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North. A part of Migration of the Negro was featured in a 1941 issue of Fortune Magazine.

Also in 1941, Lawrence married painter Gwendolyn Knight, also a student of Savage’s, on July 24th. They were married until his death. In October 1943, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and served with the first racially integrated crew on the USCGC Sea Cloud, under Carlton Skinner. During his service, he continued to paint and sketch.

After living in New York for decades, Lawrence and Knight moved to the Seattle in 1970, where he had been invited to be an art professor at the University of Washington.

Jacob Lawrence taught at several universities throughout his life but he eventually returned to NYC. He continued to paint until a few weeks before his death in June 2000 at the age of eighty-two. His last commissioned public work, the mosaic mural New York in Transit, was installed in October 2001 in the Times Square subway station.

Some of Lawrence’s recognitions include, the NAACP Spingarn Medal (1970), the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence (1996), The Washington Medal of Merit (1998), and the U.S. National Medal of Arts in 1990.

Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Resources:
PBS: African American World
Wikipedia

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Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her notable novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993. May 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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