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Berdine's Corner

There's Nothing Like Love for Brother and Sister(s)

by Kenney X. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

"Stick together. And if one of you has anything the other has it too. There's nothing like love for brothers and sister(s)."
-- Berdine Dennard-2008

That was close to the last advice I got from my mother. It was on page two of the 2-page letter she wrote me while she was sick that I received after she passed.

I am forever putting her words from that letter into context with what I am faced with throughout my day-to-day life. At my job, I have befriended several older guys that I enjoy talking to on a regular basis about religion, politics and social issues but especially black social issues.

One of the guys in particular, probably in his mid 50's, has expressed several times his reluctance to speak to the younger guys at my job in depth. In his words, this generation is completely lost and don't know much about anything outside of rap and sports.

We've sat around several times talking, (On lunch break of course) discussing problems facing black America. Sometimes he says, after looking around, watching the news as well as reading the papers he feels our people have no hope at all. He pointed an article in the New York Times out to me a few weeks ago that stated that both black and white students' knowledge of Civil Rights has deteriorated. He went further and said but it hurts us even more because the school system isn't teaching our recent history in many states and we don't teach it to our children at home. He said it wasn't as important for them to know as it is for us to know our own history.

I thought hard about this for days after our conversation. I then thought, how I learned more black history at home by my parents than I learned at school. It was my mother who told me who Nat Turner was. It was my father who explained the depth of Malcolm X to me, and even attempted to name me Malcolm Xavier before my mom talked him out of it.

I thought about all the black history I learned in that house, growing up with a picture of Black Jesus hanging on my parents' bedroom wall. I thought about how we were made to watch the news and then discuss it with my parents as we ate dinner, sitting around the table together (With no TV on). I thought about how if there was any big issue going on in middle Georgia politics how my mom and dad always discussed it over dinner and us kids got earfuls while sitting there.

Then I thought about the earful kids are getting nowadays, mostly from TV and radio and sometimes even worse from their parents or guardians. I thought about the education that we are allowing them to be taught in school, which leans more toward white America’s history and very little about ourselves.

Was my co-worker right? Is there any hope for this generation?

Part of me thinks he was. But the other part thinks there is hope. I can remember my Uncle Lee, David L Dillard, telling me, "If all responsible adults would just teach their own kids and the closest ones around them, we would be OK."

I, then, went back to what my mom taught and wrote in that last letter. "Stick together. There's nothing like love for brothers and sister(s)."

Do you want to see our children and grandchildren flourish? Do you want the Black Generation to stick together more like they did in the 60's when we overcame segregation and Jim Crow? Are you one of those that sit and talk about how messed up we are but do nothing about it? Do you love Black People? Do you love your race?

Do something about it then. Teach our youth right from wrong. Get into the communities and lend a hand. Talk to your children, nieces and nephews, as well as their friends when you get a chance. Talk to the neighborhood children. If you are a man, show them by example how a strong black man takes care of his family and business. My parents did it, my uncle did it, and I’m starting to do it. Will you do it to? There’s nothing like love for brothers and sisters.


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