#THIS print, pattern, design.
#This. The cut and silhouette of this pant is quite sickening.
Note to self: Any pattern one wants as a fabulous throw pillow will always make a bold shirt…
Two of my favorite #adinkra symbols (Nyame Nti and Adinkrahene) that I painted for my bedroom walls years ago. Changing things up. Not one to keep clutter; take a picture. #design #tcdinspiration (Taken with Instagram)
This geometrically painted house in Burkina Faso is such an design and style inspiration!
While the physical sufferings of slavery were surely brutal, I contemplate the emotional torture experienced, and the perseverance required to survive.
I reflect on the story of my paternal great, great grandmother Lilly who was transported from Virginia to Louisiana when she just old enough to remember the warmth of her mother and sister, but too young to remember the names of her former owners—making it impossible to find them after emancipation.
I also think of the torment of my great, great, great grandfather Joseph Arsene Pelletier who was owned by his father, and how what ever minor privileges this afforded only operated as a cruel reminder of his station as chattel.
As I write my dissertation, my thoughts always wander to Charles Barthelemy Roussève. He is possibly the scholar who I most want to emulate. After completing his undergraduate studies at Straight in 1926 and graduate studies at Xavier in 1935, he published his first book in 1937, which scathingly criticized both the scholarship of “white Southerners” and “American Negro commentators” for their misrepresentation and disregard, respectively, of the cultural contribution of ‘The Negro in Louisiana … His History and His Literature.’
I must honor the scholar and writer Alice Dunbar-Nelson, née Moore (1875-1935). Dunbar-Nelson is someone from whom I always draw strength. She is an illustrious alumna of Straight University (now Dillard University)—Class of 1892.
Next, I honor a little known HBCU, Leland University, and one of her alumna, Zenobia Collins, my paternal great-grandmother. Whenever I feel weary about my doctoral stories, I often think of my grandfather’s stories of his mother who would drive over 100 miles to attend night classes at Leland—and this was before interstate highways. She used her training toteach elementary education back home in Terrebonne Parish.
Leland University was founded 1870 in New Orleans as by the American Baptist Home Missionary Society as an institution of higher education “open to all without distinction of sex or color” as per its charter. Leland had a system of affiliated preparatory schools throughout the state, which provide rigorous college prep for colored children and funneled these students into normal, collegiate, and theological programs at the university. It’s theological school was noteworthy, and was frequently praised in religious and Southern educational periodicals of the day. The campus was shuttered in 1915, because of a mysterious fire during the Hurricane of 1915 (storms were not named then). Instead of rebuilding, the mostly out-of-town Board of Trustees quickly sold the land, which was located on what had become the fashionable St. Charles Avenue where gated Newcomb Boulevard intersects. (I know right!) Due to the persistence of some of the state’s Black leadership, Leland reopened as Leland College in Baker, Louisiana just north of Baton Rouge in 1923. It was responsible for educating many church and educational leaders of Louisiana and the South until its official closure in the second half of the 20th century. Long-time and famed Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson was a proud alum of Leland.
I often find myself reflecting on the more quotidian and lesser-known figures of this story. Black History is broader and more textured than trinity of Martin, Malcolm, and Douglass (sometimes, we’ll include Tubman (read: patriarchy, but that is for another post)). Instead, I honor the people whose memories inspire me everyday. I start with my maternal grandfather, Gerald Theodore Peltier, who was the first African American to be elected to in position in my hometown, Thibodaux. As an educator, he included Black history as a part of his curriculum before it was popular or acceptable. He often lectured on me, “Black History is American History.” Ironically, that was his defense against the institutionalization of “Black Studies.” He organized local voter registration drives in the 60s in order to increase access to voting to people who had been denied under Jim Crow. This list could go on, but the fondest memory is of him always putting a book or newspaper article in my hand or assigning book reports during summer vacation. I would not be where I am today if it was not for this man, my personal hero!