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Berdine's Corner

Stay Black and Proud

by Kenney X. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

The Dennard Family
Debbie, Herbert, Roy, Berdine and Kenney

I'm Black and I'm Proud.

I've been saying that loud for years. It wasn't something I got from a book although I have read a lot on Black History. It’s not something that I learned in school because sadly, my mostly Black school taught very little on Black History with exception of my 8th grade history teacher, Mr. Willie Hill. Most times if anything we had an extra credit black history assignment; a book report or something. Most of the Black history I received and the Black pride that was instilled in me started at home with my parents and continued once the music that I loved at the time went through a pro black phase.

Today I am looked at weirdly by many of my own people because they weren't taught these values at all. They have been programed by today's society. They grew up on reality TV, subliminal self hatred through TV shows, commercials and music. So when I go into one of my zones of speaking about Black History or self preservation for the Black race, they think I'm going way overboard. I hate that.

Years ago, my father was one of the most pro black men I knew. Our home was filled with African sculptures, Black Art and pictures of Black Jesus. The first book I can remember reading was a child's Jackie Robinson book. I was about 6. My sunday school books were filled with pictures of Blacks in the Bible. We watched movies like, "Green Pastures," that showed Black angels in the Bible's days flying around heaven. Every Martin Luther King Day, even when it wasn't a holiday, we marched in the streets of Macon and then attended a rally at one of the local churches.

My mother was just as pro black. Although my dad was out in the public making an example for me to follow, my mother, Berdine Dennard was home going over my homework and when it came to history, teaching me things that the books didn't. It was through my mother that I learned who Nat Turner was, Who Marcus Garvey was and how low down J. Edgar Hoover was. I can remember sitting listening to her explain how it was when blacks in Macon and Bibb County boycotted the bus system along with the rest of the south during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I remember the stories about the pride in the Black community when Jackie Robinson was knocking baseballs out of the park.

It is not a bad thing to be pro black although many of us today seem to think so. I have heard Black people say so with my own ears. A woman in particular told me that she didn’t want her children to be taught all this black stuff. She preferred that they just learn what’s in our normal history books. She said she didn’t want her kids to end up militant. Why is it that when whites are deep into their history they are patriotic but when Blacks are big on learning their culture and history they are militant?

This is a problem.

Over the last 50 years we have been conditioned to be where we are right now. President Lydon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill but still called and considered Blacks niggers. Do you not think there was no plan B for the United States government once we got our rights? One out of the many problems Black people in this country have is we just go along with whatever they tell us. Things are always much deeper than they seem. The prison system didn't fill up with Blacks following the Civil Rights movement by coincidence. Whites didn't flock to private schools and leave almost all black schools in the inner city by accident. Sometimes you have to read in between the lines and act accordingly. I learned this first by my mother.

One of the many things in life that I am proud of is being birthed by two great parents and having my eyes opened to what is right in front of them. Because of the two of them, in 2015, I am still very Black and Proud and hope to teach others that don’t have a clue along the way of my journey of life.


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