Black History is American history and by failing to remember the good and the bad…future generations lose momentum…
Feb. 23 will always be a special day of Black History celebration because Geneva Estelle Lamb Ellis was born on this day in 1926. Gebo as she was affectionately called represents a generation of strong, determined, practical and beautiful Black women who had to navigate between two worlds…the world that their parents groomed them in-a world of segregation, lynching, disenfranchisement, deference to all things White-and a world that their children, grand and great grand children would be groomed in-a world of new opportunities, Civil Rights, affirmative action, Black power and Black pride. Gebo, like all of these grand-mothers did the best they could bridging the gaps between such different generations. Their advice and wisdom emphasized manners, cleanliness, getting a good education, loving God and treating people right. They disdained lying lips, women who kept dirty homes and men who wouldn’t work. They churched hard, gardened harder, saved any and everything, and gave to everyone in need. They healed with aloe plants, spider webs, snuff, pine needles, castor oil and red clay. And they loved. They loved unconditionally, matter of factly and unfailingly. They raised their own, their neighbor’s children, their grands and a few greats on incomes that could barely sustain one person. And in spite of it all, we are here as testaments to their commitment and faith. For their sacrifices, their tears, their pain, I salute my Gebo and all the Black grandmothers like her who became the backbone of an entire generation. Your living was not in vain. Make sure their living was not in vain.