Frederick Douglass and his Food for Thought

As we celebrate Independence Day I think that we all need to take time to reflect the significance of this holiday. For most of us we are enjoying the beautiful weather, family friends and fireworks. No doubt I am enjoying these activities as well, but there is something deeper that we all should reflect on, and that is history.

As a self-proclaimed history buff I feel that it is important to know where “my people” have been so I can understand where I am going. When I say my people I treat each equally, coming from a father of Caribbean, Latin-American, and European decent and an African American mother there is a lot of history to learn.  On this day as I reflect on history I reflect on the historical component of the people who I identify with and that is my beautiful black folks. I am not denouncing any culture I love my family dearly but it is what it is.

I feel that I have a responsibility to create awareness through words and history. Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to the knowledge of my history. At school Black History Month was simply the six or seven of the black students in each class throughout the school giving a presentation on a historical figure for the school assembly. Sadly enough it wasn’t until my senior year that I was exposed to some self-identification through literature. I read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. This book changed my life. I knew I always wanted to write, but after reading this book, I told myself I wanted to change lives through words as Ellison changed mine. It was then I would spend what felt like every hour in a library or book store reading African American classics, history researching writers, poets and the like. I felt like a part of me was free. I found some truth in words, I found voices that were similar to mine and understood my thoughts, struggles and expressed the truth without fear. I found a part of my personal independence through words.

As I made myself that promise at the young age of 17 this is forcing me to reflect on my writing. The story of the writing journey is for another time, but as an artist there is a responsibility to educate and make a difference. I feel as a writer I need to shift gears and this post is the beginning of that change.

In the meantime before I partake in some good food and company, I would like to thank each of my readers for supporting me through the years. Writing for me is a dream come true. The creator has granted me this honor but I need to get back aligned with my vision and do my best to keep my promise and change  lives in a positive way through my words. It is a big task but with faith anything is possible.

I leave you with an important piece of history from one of my many historical heroes, Frederick Douglass. He wrote his speech What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? on July 5, 1852.

For a short bio of Douglass click here.

I highly suggest you get the book. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Peace and Blessings,

Yvelette

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