The Diverse History of HBCUs


Melrose


The diverse history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

While Jewish and African American communities have a tumultuous shared history when it comes to the pursuit of civil rights, there is a chapter that is often overlooked. In the 1930s when Jewish academics from Germany and Austria were dismissed from their teaching positions, many came to the United States looking for jobs. Due to the Depression, xenophobia and rising anti-Semitism, many found it difficult to find work, but more than 50 found positions at HBCUs in the segregated South.

Originally established to educate freed slaves to read and write, the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities was Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, established in 1837. By the time Jewish professors arrived, the number of HBCUs had grown to 78. At a time when both Jews and African Americans were persecuted, Jewish professors in the Black colleges found the environment comfortable and accepting, often creating special programs to provide opportunities to engage Blacks and whites in meaningful conversation, often for the first time.

In the years that followed, the interests of Jewish and African American communities increasingly diverged, but this once-shared experience of discrimination and interracial cooperation remains a key part of the Civil Rights Movement.

Image: Melrose Cottage, built in 1805, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

From pbs.org

Happy Birthday, Alice Walker!


Alice Walker


Alice Malsenior Walker, born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9, 1944, the eighth and youngest child of Minnie Tallulah Grant and Willie Lee Walker, is an African American novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and activist. Her most famous novel, The Color Purple, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1983. Walker’s creative vision is rooted in the economic hardship, racial terror, and folk wisdom of African American life and culture, particularly in the rural South.

Her writing explores multidimensional kinships among women and embraces the redemptive power of social and political revolution.

Walker began publishing her fiction and poetry during the latter years of the Black Arts movement in the 1960s. Her work, along with that of such writers as Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor, however, is commonly associated with the post-1970s surge in African American women’s literature.

Official Website – Alice Walker’s Garden

Quotes

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

 

 

From Encyclopedia Britannica. Google and Wikipedia.

“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


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Excerpt

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portions.

“I’ll help your father with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

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©2017 Felicia Denise

“The past had scarred them all…”


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Leaning forward and resting her elbows on her knees, Lennie stared across the empty living room. The day Duncan ran from her had been one of her most painful. He had always been a high-spirited child. More prone to wander, break a rule, or lead his younger brothers astray. However, he’d never done anything that warranted more than a time-out. Duncan had never been cruel to anyone or deliberately put anyone in harm’s way. Had someone told Lennie the argument in the high school parking lot with her son would take place, she would have thought them crazy.

But it did happen.

Insistent on not entering counseling, Duncan had run from Lennie. The anger building inside her at his disrespectful tone dissipated immediately at her last glimpse of his eyes.

Confusion.

Pain.

And fear.

The memory of it all in her son’s face made Lennie even more determined to get him to a therapist. She would not allow this to scar his life… not if she could help. Ranard had received no help for the verbally abusive childhood he had because of his father. Lennie knew his failure as a husband and father were directly related to his relationship with his father.

Duncan deserved a better life.

The memory played on rewind in Lennie’s mind.

*

Sitting in her Chevy Tahoe, still taking glances in the direction Duncan had gone. She wanted him to come back… but knew he wouldn’t. The despair Lennie knew he felt would now be enhanced by the shame of his behavior with her.

Consumed with the situation with her eldest son, Lenore Porter drove home. Pulling her vehicle into the garage, she exited and went through the garage’s rear entrance to her back door… and found Duncan sitting in the old swing near the Sugar Maple tree.

He shook his head slowly without meeting her gaze.

“I’m sorry, mom.”

“I’m glad you’re safe, sweetheart.”

“I shouldn’t have run away like that.”

“You were feeling overwhelmed. Looks like you still are.”

“I’m not crazy, mama… I’m not.”

Lennie’s chest tightened. He had not called her that since second grade. Sitting her bag at the bag door, Lennie walked over and took the swing next to Duncan.

They both silently rocked for a few minutes.

“Most people who go to counseling aren’t mentally ill, Dunc. Life just has a way of dumping too much on us at once,” she touched his hand, “the drowning feeling you mentioned? That’s where it comes from. It happens to us all at some point during our lives.”

“Have you ever felt like you were drowning, mom?”

“Not drowning so much as helpless.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Well, don’t take this as clinical or anything, but I knew the problem, and I knew the cause. I just couldn’t fix it.”

“Dad.” It was a statement, not a question.

Lennie’s smile was bittersweet. “Yes.”

“He hasn’t been very nice to you, mom.” Taking a deep breath, Duncan continued. “But you never gave up. You’ve always been… mom.”

“Darlin, the obstacle doesn’t exist that could separate me from my Porter Patrol. Good days or bad, you and your brothers always got the best of me, and you always will. I couldn’t give you the stereotyped version of a good family life, but I tried to make sure you have a good life. I don’t think we’ve done too badly. This is a bump in the road, and-”

“Can you make me another appointment with the shrink?”

Duncan laughed at the smirk on her face.

“Okay, okay. Counselor, therapist… whatever. I still don’t want to go, but I’ve let you down enough.” He stared at his feet.

“Duncan?”

Lennie didn’t speak again until he looked at her.

“You have never let me down. You’re sixteen years old and going through a bad time because of the actions of adults. You haven’t done anything wrong. But this is something you have to want. You cannot do it for me, baby. You don’t have to want to go to counseling… you have to want to get better and be your old self again.”

“So, you’ll make the appointment?”

“Well…”

“What, mom?”

“We haven’t missed today’s appointment yet.”

“Huh?”

“I was picking you up from school early… to give us time to talk before the appointment.”

Lennie looked at her watch.

“We’ll just make it. Run in and wash up and change your shirt. I’ll wait right here.”

Nodding, the teen stood and headed for the back door, but turned, walked back and kissed his mother’s forehead.  Still silent, Duncan entered the house.

The smile on Lenore’s face faded as Duncan walked away. Her son was angry… and afraid.

The past had scarred them all.


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“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

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Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portions.

“Lenore, take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

 

©Felicia Denise 2017

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Lenore Porter’s life had not gone as she planned. The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed. The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her. But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares, severe family dysfunction, and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness. With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.

 


 

“She made so many mistakes.”


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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

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Snippet

She made so many mistakes.

While trying to give her sons the best life possible, Lenore Porter had misjudged her own situation. By first ignoring Ranard, and subsequently divorcing him, Lennie felt she kept her focus on her boys at all times. But were they her true focus?

Lennie buried her face in her hands as her heart screamed the truth.

It was a lie.

Her commitment as a mother couldn’t be denied, but Lennie floundered as a wife… and as a woman.

In the early days when they were dating, Ranard was always so attentive… always holding her hand or stroking her hair. When they became intimate, he couldn’t seem to get enough of her. The sex wasn’t mind-blowing compared to her past relationships, but Lenore cared deeply for the awkward young man and reveled in his constant attention.

The young couple found out Lennie was pregnant with Duncan a few months into the marriage. Their lovemaking all but stopped. With all the changes in her body and hormones racing, Lennie read books, crawled through the Internet, and daydreamed of new ways to seduce her husband. A few times the seduction worked, but more often than not, a rejected Lenore Porter would leave their bedroom in tears finding solace in the guest bedroom or on the living room sofa.

Ranard would offer a heartfelt apology the next morning, with promises of candlelight dinners, followed by slow, passionate lovemaking. Frustrated, Lennie turned to the person who knew her best for advice – her mother.

 

 

“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


Free, a Novella cover


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

#99cents #KindleUnlimited

Amazon US – bit.ly/LindenLane
Amazon UK – bit.ly/LindenLaneUK
Amazon CA – bit.ly/LindenLaneCA
Amazon AU – bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads – bit.ly/FreeANovella

Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portioreadersofins with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

 

©Felicia Denise 2017

“The Color Purple Collection” by Alice Walker

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“The Color Purple Collection”

Author: Alice Walker

Genre: African American/Historical/Cultural Heritage

Release Date: September 11, 2012

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Three novels by a New York Times–bestselling author—including the Pulitzer Prizewinner The Color Purple—that speak to the African experience in America.
The Color Purple is Alice Walker’s stunning, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel of courage in the face of oppression. Celie grows up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she’s badly treated by her family. As a teenager, she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home.
 
In The Temple of My Familiar, Celie and Shug from The Color Purple follow the lives of a brilliant cast of characters, all dealing in some way with the legacy of the African experience in America. From recent African immigrants to a woman who grew up in the mixed-race rainforest communities of South America, to Celie’s own granddaughter living in modern-day San Francisco, all must come to understand the brutal stories of their ancestors to come to terms with their own troubled lives.

Possessing the Secret of Joy portrays Tashi’s tribe, the Olinka, where young girls undergo genital mutilation as an initiation into the community. Tashi manages to avoid this fate at first, but when pressed by tribal leaders, she submits. Years later, married and living in America as Evelyn Johnson, Tashi’s inner pain emerges. As she questions why such a terrifying, disfiguring sacrifice was required, she sorts through the many levels of subjugation with which she’s been burdened over the years.

Hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the best American writers of today,” Alice Walker is a master storyteller and a major voice in modern literary fiction.

~~~~~~~~~
Alice Walker

Image from NNDB.com

Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other novels include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.