Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Birthday in Denver

I traveled, saw movies, read books and went to galleries and museums when I was growing up because my mother wanted me to have more education than school could provide.

During the summer of 1964, I traveled to Denver to vacation with Aunt Clara and Uncle Fred in Denver. I spent many summers and other out-of-school time with those two. They had no children of their own, and seemed to really enjoy having me as a substitute.

Aunt Clara and Uncle Fred mailed me money wrapped in letters and cards, which I answered promptly. 
When I was young, they mailed me dolls, games and gadgets. Later, more expensive gifts came. They paid for my insurance, watches, jewelry, fancy winter caps, Cashmere sweaters, quilted poodle skirts, pink petticoats, books, a typewriter, tiny radio with earphone, a Baby Ben alarm clock for my bedside table and other "unnecessary stuff you don't need and we have no place to store," my mother said. I loved to listen to music on the transistor radio they sent. I placed the little gadget under my pillow and fell asleep listening to Randy Record Shop out of Nashville, Tennessee.

Aunt Clara liked stylish clothes and bought expensive dresses, and leather and woolen coats, which I relieved her of when I became a teenager, along with most of her makeup and beauty products.

The subject even came up that I could live with them during my high school years and get a better education in a Denver school than I could back home. It was all about civil rights, the subject of Martin Luther King's speeches, Brown v the Board of Education and Rosa Parks in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

Aunt Clara and Uncle Fred kept my school in mind when they bought a nice little home with a second bedroom that could be mine in a quiet, racially mixed neighborhood. The next door neighbors on both sides were white and there were lots of children my age of all races riding their bicycles together up and down the tree-lined paved streets with green lawns, flower gardens and sidewalks. I could even have a bicycle, they said. No bicycle for me back home. There were green lawns and vegetable gardens where I lived, but no flower gardens, paved streets or sidewalks and nowhere to ride a bicycle on the bumpy red-dirt and gravel trails that connected the blocks of my Candy Hill neighborhood.

East High School - Denver, Colorado
East High School - Denver, Colorado
Aunt Clara and Uncle Fred said I could attend East High School, the oldest high school in Denver and one of America's top high schools in the 1960s. Uncle Fred drove me past the school one winter day in his new car when I had traveled to Denver during the Christmas holidays.

"East High School is a great school!" Aunt Clara told my mother on the telephone. "Fred will drive her to school every day."

The following summer, 1964, they arranged a tour of East High School with a friend attending the school that Fall. There were long discussions on the telephone about East High School that summer. I liked the elegant school building and imagined walking into the tiled hallway and up the grand staircases. But I knew my mother well enough not to get into a discussion with her about it. My mother's was always the last word over mine, my father's, Bigmama's and certainly Aunt Clara's.

East High School Hallway - Denver, Colorado
East High School, Main Hallway

"I know the school in Denver is better than schools here," my mother said. "I know you and Fred have more money to spend on her than we do." 

Uncle Fred had an office. He took me to the research laboratory where he worked. Aunt Clara was an assistant administrator at a large Catholic hospital. Not many black people in our town had jobs to equal those in the 1950s and '60s. Wages in most southern towns were very low and promotion was still next to impossible.

"I appreciate everything you do for her, Clara," my mother said. "I know you mean well offering to send her to high school out there."

"If it's about money, we'll buy all of her school clothes and pay for anything else she needs," Aunt Clara said.

"It's not about money, Clara."

"Then why won't you let us give her this white education?" Aunt Clara asked.

"Because I'm her mother."

To my mother it wouldn't have mattered whether I went to a great school, a white school or any other school. It had nothing to do with integrated schools or liberal Colorado politics. 

My mother wanted to give me an education herself, not that she doubted Aunt Clara's sincerity about school. My mother had a plan and her plan would work better with her in control. She wanted me to go to college and she felt that the road to a college education would be best paved by her, regardless of where I graduated high school. And the discussion was closed forever, although I resented not having input into the decision.

College was my mother's insurance for my success.

For my birthday that summer, Uncle Fred went out and bought a croquet lawn set and read all the rules to learn how to play, so he could teach me and my friends how to play. Uncle Fred sacrificed his impeccably landscaped rear garden with flowerbeds along the fence that separated their backyard from the neighbor's very large Great Dane. After carefully placing the wire wickets and hardwood stakes into the soil, Uncle Fred tried out a wooden mallet for himself to strike an Easter-egg-colored wooden ball. He did not let me try the game or teach me the rules, saying it wouldn't be fair to the others if I knew how to play the game already.

Croquet, a one-thousand-year-old outdoor game invented around 1066 for the English Royal Court, took its name from the French word, meaning conqueror. 

croquet lawn set
Croquet Set - 4 Player
A game that had stirred the imaginations of a great number of Americans by the 1960s, croquet had also seemed to have ignited Uncle Fred's attention, too. Why he thought genteel competition would be appropriate for me and my little heathen friends, I will never know, but I am sure it had something to do with my mother. 

When I returned home on the train at the end of the summer, the croquet set was shipped along with all my other birthday and vacation gifts. I found out later that the croquet set was quite expensive and my mother had shared in that expense. "You can teach your friends here to play the game," my mother said, unwrapping Uncle Fred's sturdy package.
Birthday Cake Book
Birthday Cake Book 

On my birthday, in addition to spending a lot of money on games, Aunt Clara purchased my birthday cake and made all the snacks. Then Aunt Clara brought her phonograph from the living room out into the backyard to play the latest music she had bought, to which we were to teach her the latest new dance steps. On three card tables, Uncle Fred set up his chess set to try to teach us to play, a set of dominoes, set of checkers and other board games I had never seen. 

It was a fine birthday with my friends nibbling on healthy snacks and other goodies at my mother's insistence, "Don't come

Aunt Clara danced with my friends and Uncle Fred played Chinese checkers, regular checkers, dominoes and other table games with them. But mostly comparing notes about politics, race relations and civil rights that we had all been hearing so much about on television lately. Everyone had an opinion. I thought the new civil rights law meant more to me than it did to my Denver friends until we got into some pretty heated discussions. The school they attended, East High School, where Aunt Clara tried to convince my mother I should go, was integrated. They could sit at the lunch counter at Woolworth's. They could watch movies from any seat in the theater. What is their complaint, I wanted to know. Certainly Martin Luther King wasn't talking about them in his speeches. 

Estes Park Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park Rocky Mountain National Park
At home, I couldn't do the things I could in Denver. When Aunt Clara took me shopping or to lunch, we tried on clothes and sat where we wanted in the restaurant. That could not happen a back home. Black people were not allowed to try on clothes before buying them, could not return the clothes if they did not fit and could not sit down and eat in most restaurants, except in a segregated section. 

Aunt Clara and I rode at the front of the bus not the back like Rosa Parks had been forced to ride before the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When Aunt Clara took me to Red Rock, Cherry Creek, Colorado Springs, Estes Park or other places in the mountains to see the sites, clerks behind the souvenir counters were polite when they took our money for postcards, trinkets and gifts. That was all I expected from civil rights, except that I may have to go to a different school one day.

"What's it like to go to a white school?" I wanted to know. "Do you have any black teachers? Do you have any white friends?" 

"A few," they said.

As I listened, I realized that these people experienced racism of a different kind, "the sneaky kind," as my mother would say. They had been made to stand in lines waiting for services because of their race. They were taunted at school and treated badly by some white teachers and students. This whole subject of race and civil rights in Colorado and the rest of the nation was a lot more complicated that I had thought. Maybe living in Denver and going to East High School wouldn't be that great after all.

© 2012 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
~Thank You~

Sunny Nash – Race Relations in America

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If Rosa Parks Had a Cellphone and Social Media...

Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott

What impact do you think social media would have had on Jim Crow laws?

Before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, all Rosa Parks had to fight Jim Crow laws was her ability to keep her seat. If she had had a cellphone and social media, what would the impact have been? Would history be different? Who knows, but the impact of social media and cellphones is a concept worth intellectual consideration. Don't you think?

Rosa Parks Montgomery Bus Boycott Booking Photo
Rosa Parks - Booking Photo
(Photo: Library of Congress)

9-year-old Linda Brown, 
for Whom the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court 
Case was named

Children are taught in school that Rosa Parks was a peaceful elderly worker who decided one day not to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus after work, blaming her tired feet for this decision. While this is essentially what happened on December 1, 1955, it is not the whole truth. Rosa Parks may have had tired feet, but the Montgomery Bus Boycott was no accident of history. Imagine this day in history on YouTube! 

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

African American Women with cellphones at the Heart of the Civil Rights Movement

Educated, professional, 42-year-old, Rosa Parks knew exactly what she was doing the day she boarded the city bus. If there had been such a thing as Twitter back then, you just know she would have been tweeting or uploading video as she resisted arrest. Or maybe not. In those days, people were more reserved than today.

This was one year after Brown v the Board of Education. Had social media been available to Linda Brown, she probably would have used them to attract her target audiences. After all, most nine-year-old girls today have cellphones--wouldn't be caught away from home without them. However, in the case of Brown, additional audience attention is difficult to imagine with the long lines that formed around the Supreme Court the day the case was decided..

Claudette Colvin's largely untold story would have lit up social media with #!

Claudette Colvin:
Twice Toward Justice

Claudette Colvin's story would have gone global. 

In fact, fifteen-year-old high school student, Claudette Colvin, was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white woman on a Montgomery Bus on March 22, 1955, almost a year before Rosa Parks. 

Claudette Colvin found herself isolated in her community and avoided by her classmates at school for standing up for her civil rights action on the bus, which would not have been the case had she been equipped with a cellphone and an Instagram account. She would have been able to record the entire incident and distribute it around the world in seconds. The pictures of the physical abuse she sustained at the hand of Montgomery police officers when she was thrown off the bus and arrested for ignoring the segregation signs and defending her civil rights would have stunned the world. 

The big question remains: How would Claudette Colvin's social media story have affected the legal status of African Americans during the Jim Crow era? Go to: and take a look.


If you think persons at this level of activism would NOT have used instant communications, social media networking and every other technological tool available, think again! At the time, Rosa Parks was considered one of the most radical activists in Alabama. Of course, she would have used her cellphone camera or tablet to communicate and report violence by police and others.

Unlike Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks was part of a larger movement and helped plan the the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott - Boycotters Waiting for Rides
(Photo: Library of Congress)
Not that the treatment and civil rights contribution of Claudette Colvin should have gone unnoticed and seemingly unappreciated, at the time of Colvin's action, the NAACP was in the process of organizing a larger plan  that incorporated new protest principles, involved seasoned civil rights activists and pointed to a more predictable conclusion.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was not about one person, the boycott was intended to initiate a concerted movement against Jim Crow laws in the Southern United States and Jim Crow traditions nationwide.

Working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Rosa Parks and other activists attended regular meetings before and after the Montgomery Bus Boycott began, and were instrumental in organizing the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), a multiracial group that managed the Montgomery Bus Boycott, arranged alternative transportation, made bail for arrested boycott participants, paid fines, raised money and performed other administrative duties.

During the Montgomery Bus Boycott, television was an infant medium with no news being broadcast regularly. In fact, when the Montgomery Bus Boycott began in 1954, few American homes had televisions, due to the lack of regular broadcasts of any kind. And most small town had no access to television signals. Television was a new and experimental medium and the news broadcast was still being invented. At the time, there were no 24-hour news, entertainment and sports channels like there are today. Even into the the late 1950s, news was mostly limited to 15-minute segments in early evening when news broadcasts were left to the discretion of the local channels and the channels located in the nation's southern states usually excluded reports on the budding Civil Rights Movement because these stories angered local residents.

Imagine Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott more than 60 years with the social media and instant messaging of today with cellphone video and photography. 

Rosa Parks Montgomery Bus Boycott Associate, Jo Ann Robinson Booking Photo
Jo Ann Robinson
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Booking Photo
Suppose Rosa Parks had had social media at her disposal when she refused to move from her seat on the bus and was arrested. How would Parks' and her activist associate, Jo Ann Robinson, have used FaceBook or Twitter to organize the one-day Montgomery Bus Boycott that eventually turned into a protest that lasted more than a year?

Activist, Jo Ann Robinson, president of the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery, Alabama, made a priority of her term the city’s segregated bus system, which became the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When Rosa Parks was arrested, Robinson went to the mayor and threatened a bus boycott if conditions did not change. The mayor gave Robinson no indications that the bus system would change. This led to a modest movement against local public transportation policy in Montgomery. 

How many lynchings could have been stopped by cellphones and social media had they been available back then? Race relations in America is a discussion that does not seem to be leaving the American conversation any time soon. Join the conversation.

Lynching Laura Nelson 1911
Laura Nelson
Lynched for Defending her Son 
Oklahoma 1911
Jo Ann Robinson, Rosa Parks and others passed out 50,000 fliers around Montgomery. Imagine if they had had social media to instantly broadcast their messages worldwide and attach high-quality photographs and videos with audio. As the Civil Rights Movement developed into the 1960s, the world could have instantly seen with social media what it took hours for television stations back then to process and distribute. 

With social media and instant messaging the world and contemporary school children would have realized immediately that Rosa Parks had been involved in the Civil Rights Movement through her NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) membership since joining the organization in 1943, twelve years before she ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Montgomery Bus Boycott is the event for which Rosa Parks is best known. 

Even without social media, the local protest grew into a national campaign to dismantle Jim Crow laws and all that those laws represented across the nation. When there was no evidence of changes in bus policy, NAACP officials, Dr. Martin Luther King and others formed the multiracial organization, Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), to help raise money and administer the Montgomery Bus Boycott. the boycott, which lasted more than a year and energized the Civil Rights Movement, created a model for nonviolent protest that spread across the nation.

However, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle McGuire describes another Rosa Parks. Long before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, black women on Montgomery city buses endured degradation on their way to cook and clean for their white bosses. This book reveals how by 1955, Rosa Parks, one of the most radical activists in Alabama, had had enough. "There had to be a stopping place," she said, "and this seemed to be the place for me to stop being pushed around."

Need an answer? Search here.


Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power
is a participant in the
Amazon Services LLC
Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program
 designed to provide a means
for sites to earn advertising fees
by advertising and linking
Danielle McGuire, Rosa Parks Biographer
Danielle McGuire
According to Danielle McGuire's book, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, Rosa Parks contributed to a major change in the way black women are treated in America, including more than gaining them the right to sit where they wanted on a city bus or use a restroom that white women also used. Denied basic civil rights--education, voting, fair employment, respectful treatment and equal protection under the law--Rosa Parks helped to gain the most important right any women of any color could desire, protection of her personal safety and prosecution of males who sexually assaulted them, males who would not have been punished before the Civil Rights Movement.

The Amazon review of McGuire's book says, "In this groundbreaking and important book, Danielle McGuire writes about the rape in 1944 of a twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, who strolled toward home after an evening of singing and praying at the Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama. Seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered the young woman into their green Chevrolet, raped her, and left her for dead. The president of the local NAACP branch office sent his best investigator and organizer to Abbeville. Her name was Rosa Parks. In taking on this case, Parks launched a movement that ultimately changed the world.

"The author gives us the never-before-told history of how the civil rights movement began; how it was in part started in protest against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men who used economic intimidation, sexual violence, and terror to derail the freedom movement; and how those forces persisted unpunished throughout the Jim Crow era when white men assaulted black women to enforce rules of racial and economic hierarchy. Black women's protests against sexual assault and interracial rape fueled civil rights campaigns throughout the (Jim Crow) South that began during World War II and went through to the Black Power movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was the baptism, not the birth, of that struggle.

"The protest, intended to last twenty-four hours, became a yearlong struggle for dignity and justice. It broke the back of the Montgomery city bus lines and bankrupted the company. We see how and why Rosa Parks, instead of becoming a leader of the movement she helped to start, was turned into a symbol of virtuous black womanhood, sainted and celebrated for her quiet dignity, prim demeanor, and middle-class propriety—her radicalism all but erased. And we see as well how thousands of black women whose courage and fortitude helped to transform America were reduced to the footnotes of history. A controversial, moving, and courageous book; narrative history at its best."

Search other civil rights topics.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jim Crow Laws & the Stage Mother

School, music and movies prepare for success.

Sunny Nash 8 Years Old
Sunny Nash
8 Years Old, from
Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's

After my singing debut, my mother became my music director, companion, confidant, partner and co-conspirator when we were pursuing a dream of mine or hers, mostly hers.

There was no You Tube when I was eight years old in third grade at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. My music teacher, Eloise King, discovered that I could sing the old-fashioned way. I knew I could sing along with the radio but I never thought I was good enough to impress my music teacher. And I had no idea singing would be part of my education.

I saw her walking up and down the aisle during music class listening as the we sang lines from an arrangement she had chosen. On one of her strolls down the aisle, she stopped close to me and stood there for a few moments and then asked me to sing the song without the group. 

Back then, in addition to there being no You Tube, there were no American IdolThe Voice or America's Got Talent

I was afraid, thinking I was singing the song out of tune or something, which I didn't have to worry about singing with my radio. Then she asked if I would come to the auditorium at recess. I did. She told me she wanted me to sing a solo at the Spring Festival. That was the last recess for me throughout most of my remaining elementary school days. When other teachers saw me on that stage, they started making plans for me as well. If it wasn't Mrs. King rehearsing a new musical selection with me, it was Mr. Pruitt's gymnastics team or Mrs. Jackson preparing a dance routine that required new steps, elaborate makeup, which I was otherwise not allowed to wear, and vintage jewelry, which I was.

The next day, Mrs. King began teaching me the music to the Academy Award-winning song, Over the Rainbow, from the 1939 film, Wizard of Oz, instructing me to sing it exactly like the Judy Garland recording, which she sent home with me to practice before returning to school. I was already familiar with the music because I had seen the film numerous times when my mother took me to the movies whenever it encored at our Jim Crow movie theater in the 1950s or was rebroadcast on local television. Singing along with the music on the recording was different from my singing along with the radio. With the radio, I was just having fun. Singing with the recording was serious business. It would have been so much easier if You Tube had been around.

Sometimes, for television broadcasts of movies like Wizard of Oz and other shows, my mother made large bowls of popcorn to pass around our living room for the crowd of neighborhood kids and adults, who did not have television and, some of whom, had never been to the movies, a weekly trek for my mother and me. We saw all the latest movies that came to the Palace Theater downtown. My mother was as enthusiastic about movies as she was about school, books, radio, television and music, and we had plenty of books, and jazz and classical music in the house, and a revolving series of modern electronic technology on which to listen.

My mother insisted that I read books, see movies, hear music and travel for exposure to a larger world than the Jim Crow world where I lived. 

My mother insisted that I dress a certain way and she strained our budget to make sure I had the appropriate wardrobe and shoes for a teenage girl in the 1960s. My cousins looked at me with envy. They thought I was pretentious, but it wasn't me. My mother dressed me. "Everything you do reveals who you are and who you want to be," she said. All of this my mother did to produce the person she wanted me to become. What she counted on was my cooperation in her plan. Doing well in school was the most important part of her plan. It all paid off when I won a beauty and talent competition and became a statewide celebrity.

We traveled on buses, trains and, when I was older, airplanes to our destinations. 

My mother took me to museums, galleries, beaches, mountain resorts, amusement parks, tourist sites, restaurants and sporting events. This was all part of my education. We left the state to visit these attractions. Jim Crow kept us out of them at home. She encouraged me to learn new games and keep up with current events that I was required to read about in our tiny home library.

I practiced the music to Over the Rainbow with the recording Mrs. King loaned me. Again and again, I tried my best to sing the song like Judy Garland. After studying the lyrics and melody and trying to stay true to the Judy Garland version, I gained a lot of confidence in my abilities. This confidence would extent to more places than on stage and my mother seemed to see something in me that she had not seen before the performance. I caught her watching as I sang along with the music and hoped she would not get the idea to find a Dorothy costume for my performance. The original Dorothy dress is now up for auction and estimated to bring between $400,000 and $600,000. Even so, back then, as much as I loved the song, I did not want to wear Dorothy's homely dress. I might as well show up at the school festival to perform the music wearing a Cowardly Lion mask to complete the outfit.I cannot imagine how many hits I would have gotten on You Tube wearing that mask.

For the night of my performance,
fortunately, my mother and Mrs. King agreed that I should wear a dainty pink dress that I already owned. I stepped upon a stack of soda pop crates in front of the microphone. I was very small for my age and needed a boost. I had practiced with the microphone and amplifier several times before the performance and felt very comfortable with the electronic equipment, as if I were a real entertainer in the music business, a recording artist in a recording studio or on the radio.

Standing up there on the stage in front of the audience, I was not nervous as a full house stared at me. Mrs. King played the introductory music to the song on piano and gave me the nod. I took a deep breath silently through my nose as she had instructed and sang the song the way we had rehearsed, paying close attention to microphone technique. When I hit my high strong notes, I held my face away from the microphone to control the amount of sound going into the microphone. 

Mrs. King had told me at rehearsal, "Back off! You're going to blow out their ears!" My own ears rang with feedback, produced by a voice untrained in mic performing. By the time that rehearsal was finished, I knew how to handle my voice using a mic. Of course, stage electronics back then were nothing compared to the ear buds and mini mics modern entertainers strut around with on stage today, to mention sophisticated HD video instantly available for instant upload to YouTube

I sang Over the Rainbow as if the song belonged to me, instead of Judy Garland. And I knew I had nailed it as I hung onto the last note of the song before I got a standing ovation from my neighborhood friends, classmates and teachers at school. That night prepared me for many things to come in my life, including hearing my own song on the radio one day.

Mrs. King was so pleased with my performance, she gave me the Judy Garland recording as a gift. My mother, more pleased and surprised than Mrs. King, had no idea I could sing until she heard me practicing, but she was quiet about it until the performance was over. I have Mrs. King and the Judy Garland recording of the song, Over the Rainbow, in the film, Wizard of Oz, to thank for giving me the confidence that helped to shape my life.

All of my singing and seeming joy with it stunned and pleased my mother because she couldn't get me to sing a Christmas song around the tree with her. She didn't realize I had been embarrassed to sing in front of her. She had such a wonderful voice and I felt my voice was inferior to hers. Feeling that her own time for singing professionally had past, I believe it was on the night of my song, Over the Rainbow, that my mother got ideas about entering me in The Ted Mack Amateur Hour and other competitions.

Nearly a quarter century ago, Judy Garland sang the song originally. More than a half century ago, Mrs. King picked the classic for my first song on our little school stage. In 2000, the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts voted Over the Rainbow as the #1 song of the 20th Century. When I read the announcement, memories flooded back to me of my childhood. 

Popularized by the film, Wizard of Oz, produced before I was born, Over the Rainbow had been part of my life throughout my life and had a great deal to do with my education, confidence and career choices. The song Mrs. King taught me helped to bring me to the place my mother worked so hard to get me, in spit of Jim Crow Laws. 

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's
by Sunny Nash

In the 1990s, I began writing a newspaper column based on my life during the era of Jim Crow laws.

My mother encouraged me to change the focus to family topics, involving the experiences her mother, my part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama. These topics still involved Jim Crow laws, but did not center on the subject of discrimination. "People have heard enough about segregation and they're tired of it," she said. "Aren't You? I know I am. Write about your family and let their lives tell the story of civil rights. That way people won't blame you for preaching to them."

My mother's tactic worked. People loved hearing stories of our lives, even when mixed with a little non-preachy racial politics of the day. Then she advised me to use the local column to build my reputation as a writer. She was right again. The local column led to a regional column, then a syndicated column and eventually gave birth to my first book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press).

My mother was delighted when this book came out. The idea that I had written about her mother and other ancestors pleased her. After one book signing, we were sitting at the kitchen table in the house where I grew up. "You're doing better than the drug dealers in the neighborhood," she said. Although, she was just guessing how much money the neighborhood drug dealers made. There were no drug dealers in the neighborhood when I was growing up and my mother was teaching me how to have good posture at the same time that she was teaching me to use power tools. Time passes. Things change.

Thank you, Littie Nash, for being my mother and taking the job so seriously. I wouldn't be who I am without you.

Sunny Nash Author of Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's
Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't
Shop At
Sunny Nash has also co-authored, edited or compiled several books, written three newspaper columns, created a major photographic study and exhibition, produced and written for television, and conducted public speaking tours. “Fortunately, writing comes easy to me and I am able to produce all kinds of copy and media—movie treatments, television scripts, book manuscripts, proposals, commercial jingles, whatever a client needs,” Nash said. “I also produce video for broadcast and Internet marketing and distribution. My client list includes corporations, cities, chambers of commerce, nonprofit organizations, real estate companies and all kinds of groups and individuals, The balance for any artist is making sure their own work does not suffer, while giving the client the best work possible.”

Bookmark and Share Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash on My Zimbio

© 2012  Sunny Nash
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

~ Thank You~