AFFIRMING THY BLACK AFRICAN ANCESTORS
"Teach The Youth The Truth"
Far be it from me to say, "You really missed it!" - but if you and your family weren't basking in the vivid ancestral atmosphere at the Brownsville Heritage House recently at the Warrioress Jean Wilkins Dember MHS 19th Annual "AFRICANS UNITED FOR SANITY NOW!" Commemoration ceremony - you really did miss it!
One walks in to the Brownsville Heritage House, is cordially and with true African hospitality and warmth, greeted by Sister Queen Patricia Deans, Director/Curator, and is immediately positively overwhelmed by the sheer number of variegated displays, paintings, photographs, crests, drawings and artifacts reflecting the glorious activists, notaries, martyrs, diplomats, politicians, writers, historians, philosophers, warriors and Black African ancestors, among too many others to herein awesomely describe.
As we sat, almost stupefied amidst such ancestral splendor, listening to Sister Jean Dember's soul-stirring presentation on Black Panthers activism, it was as if someone had opened up the tops of our heads as the atmosphere and information about our Black African selves flooded in - creating new synapses in our Blackness-starved brains. I was fervently grateful that my own son (and accompanying invited-by-me guests) was aslo breathing in the soul/psyche-enriching experience: you can't buy such vital encounters!
And, as if being flooded with the thought-provoking regalia of the museum and the enriching information by Mrs. Dember were not stimulating enough, when she presented and described the incredibly delicious completely vegetarian delicacies for us (to first taste and ) then to devour, we could hardly express our delight and gratitude for her obvious care and preparation (she and her supportive husband Clarence had driven in to Brooklyn's Mother Gaston Boulevard all the way from West Babylon, Long Island!) for this project.
One is struck not only by the number of interesting artifacts but also by the prose describing them and especially the evocative messages emitted by various 'Oh-so-conscious' artists: for instance, the stark hand-drawing of an obviously-anguished Black man's muscled back, with a loaded slave ship as his spine! (My entire psyche shuddered in the shock of sudden recognition as I saw it!) (Talk about on-the-spot much-needed psychological/psychiatric counseling for us Blackfolk!) Dr. Joy deGruy's description of Post Slavery Traumatic Disorder immediately was called to mind - along with the admonitions of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing about Black male jeopardy in this hostile-to-color country.
Can I also share with you the consciousness-smacking start I got when I beheld the Michael Jackson "Afro-ed Michael" montage of multi-photo-ed headshots of him before he straightened his hair? (What creative-thinking brain could dream up something like that?)
Another amazing display of Black African creativity was the painstakingly-laid out church scene where the artist used specially-treated ordinary brown cardboard material (which most people discard) to fashion singers, spires, seats and statuary, all somehow commanding onlookers to stare continuously wondering how he did it. I found myself returning and returning to 'see what I hadn't seen before' - not wanting to miss any part of it.
So, if you've ever longed for the opportunity to invest in providing your children/family/relatives/loved ones the experience of 'a quintessential showering in a Black African milieu,' - a kind of healing 'steeping in BlackAfricanness' - do not hesitate to take them to the Brownsville Heritage House (even though you did miss the AFRICANS UNITED FOR SANITY NOW! unique event, you can still enjoy memorable times at the Brownsville museum - well-named "Heritage" House!) (718) 385 1111
[Teachers, take your students here!]