Family

Family, Featured

Summertime is the season for a Black tradition, and that is the family reunion. I’m not sure how other groups do it, but most of us have either our immediate family or groups of families that share the same ancestral line to come together somewhere in the US for a weekend of camaraderie, food, and fun.

We missed both of ours this year, but received updates from family members who attended. In a discussion with my favorite cousin, Nikki, I realized how this wonderful tradition could eventually disappear, since the younger generations (in my family at least) aren’t attending or interested in keeping it going.

Nikki and I got into a thought-provoking discussion about how it seems all Black people aren’t as dependant on family as we once had to be, due to segregation. Most of our families were able to get settled after the passing of the Civil Rights Act because they depended on the help of other families. If family had the means to move West or North for hopes of a better life, they would settle in and send for other family members. Also, families that couldn’t afford to relocate or take an entire family trip would send their children out to those family members who moved away to keep the connection strong, and to expose their children to something more than their immediate neighborhood.

There was also a time when families had to work together to create businesses to meet the needs of their communities. Sons would follow in their father’s footsteps and take up daddy’s trade; daughters spent time shadowing mama to learn how to garden, cook, sew, and do hair; and all these things combined led to Black folks having a taste of economic independence by having our own stores, salons, restaurants – any business we wanted and were skilled in.

With our world so topsy turvy, now more than ever we need our family members, and we need to work with them to bring some of these traditions back. There’s no one like your blood – and though they can get on our nerves the most, they are also the ones who will love us when we’re sad, feed us when we’re hungry, and embrace us when we’ve fallen off our path.

Take care of your elders folks. Talk to them and get YOUR family history. Stay close to loved ones, today and everyday. After all, family is love.

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