Friday, June 9, 2017

The Japanese Way of Tea & My Global Education

China Tea Set
Blue Willow China 
When I was six, my mother bought me a miniature China Tea Set--cups, saucers and teapot--made of matching imported China, unlike the unmatched China sets we used at our mealtime. When I opened the China tea set, I loved the look and feel of the cool smooth surface, but as my fingers glided over it, I had no idea of its significance to my life and the value it would be to my mother's homeschooling plans--my global education, a college scholarship and professional success.

Rosa Parks Booking Photo Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks Booking Photo
Montgomery Bus Boycott

The year I received the China  tea set was 1955, the year Rosa Parks went to jail for starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

At the age of six, I was vaguely aware of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I did not hear of the civil rights activists or the Civil Rights Movement from teachers in my segregated school. My teachers seemed wary of such discussions. I later learned from my parents that the teachers may have been warned not to talk about the Civil Rights Movement for fear that they may start trouble among the student body.

Thurgood Marshall (center) Brown v Board of Education
Thurgood Marshall (center)
Brown v Board of Education
I learned about Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights Movement and the names of civil rights activists like Rosa Parks from hearing their names in conversations between my mother, father and Bigmama when they talked about current events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Brown v the Board of Education

Rosa Parks Anti-Rape Activist
Rosa Parks
Anti-Rape Activist
At the time, though, they probably had no idea of Rosa Parks' involvement in the protection of black women from rape and lynching from the ills of Jim Crow laws and tradition in the South. I didn't fully understand what Jim Crow laws were until much later in my life. I just knew they were bad for black people and people who were not white. This was confusing to me at times because none of the relatives I knew personally were white, though there was talk in the family about them. And many relatives I knew did not look black. I was too young to know the difference.

When I was six, I knew Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King had something to do with fighting Jim Crow laws during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Jim Crow laws affected everything about our lives and the schools I attended until I graduated from high school; and later getting into a college of my choice. But Jim Crow laws did not affect the global education my mother presented to me with my toy China tea set and other tools, such as an erector set for building structures I imagined. She also discovered meditation, which she adapted to her global education. 

My mother would use that China tea set to teach me about a world outside of Jim Crow, under which my ancestors had lived for nearly a century at that time and my family would live for years to come.

When I saw my mother sitting on the porch staring into the distance, almost trance-like, I knew she was in meditation upon something beautiful or strange or realizable. I learned later that the something she was in meditation upon was me. Living within the circumstances of Jim Crow laws did not give a person an excuse to do less than the best they could offer, my mother always told me. 

"Even the house you live in," she said. "Make it a home. Make your home the best home you can. Organize it. Keep it immaculate. Decorate it. It's where you live. Respect where you live. Take care of your home and it will take care of you; shelter you, nurture you, be standing when you need it!" 

My mother understood what I needed to hear and gave freely and loudly. From primary school through college education with a lot of homeschooling in between, my mother yelled her demands and threatened me if I did not do the work. And she never complimented me unless I had shown extraordinary skill at something. There were no gold stars for mere participation.

"We will find a way of paying for college," she said. "But you have to try to get a college scholarship to help out. If you don't study in high school with college in mine, I don't know if we should strain to pay for college. Maybe you won't study in college and our money will be wasted. Maybe you're not college material. But I won't hold that against you, even though I was smart enough to go to college and would have gone if I had had the chance when I graduated from high school."

Learning to accept and appreciate differences in people is global education.

My mother accepted the way other people lived, even if she didn't approve of their lifestyle. "I do not expect others to let me tell them what to think or how to live," my mother said. "Listen but make your own decision based on what you know. And do not follow or be bullied into going into a certain direction just because others do. Do not be afraid of thinking for yourself. And, likewise, do not bully others into thinking like you." Like you're doing me now, I thought, but had sense enough not to say it out loud.

My mother encouraged me to learn another language. She had learned Spanish when she began her supervisory career in food services and wanted to teach me Spanish so that she could practice her language skills before going off to work and giving orders. 

Image: Early 17th century Japan Stoneware
Momoyama period (1573–1615),
Metropolitan Museum, New York
In one of our many reference books my mother had purchased over the years, she found items about the Japanese event, The Way of Tea. Sasaki Sanmiis, born in 1893 in Kyoto, wrote the original Japanese classic, Sado-saijiki, which was translated into English in 1960. My mother found translations, which cover Japanese tea tradition throughout the calendar year with descriptions, poetry and The Way of Tea: Reflections. She was fascinated by all of this tradition and ceremony, perhaps because so much of her African and Native American traditions were a mystery to her.

Admitting to me that she was probably not saying the words correctly, my mother still enjoyed trying to pronounce of the names and words describing the ceremonies. "I would love to learn to speak Japanese," she said. "That way, I would have a better understanding of these rules of the tea. "Eastern languages are very different from English and Spanish," she said. "It wouldn't hurt, though, if you learned Spanish."

Using my little toy tea set, my mother taught me about the world's fascination with tea, tea traditions, world economies built around tea and legitimate historical political movements named for the beverage, including the Boston Tea Party, one event leading to the American Revolution. From 1775 to 1783, the Founding Fathers, delegates to the Constitutional Convention, along with the other of their kind, had witnessed America's victory in the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain. Jim Crow laws were not far behind.

My mother especially loved the Japanese ceremonies, but she taught me about all tea traditions and the people who created them. Traditionally, powdered green tea is used in the Chanoyu, Japanese Tea Ceremony. Matcha ceremonial-grade tea is different from other green and black teas brewed from dried flakes of loose tea leaves or tea leaves manufactured into tea bags. Loose tea leaves or those in tea bags are steeped in hot water and then discarded. The ceremonial tea is ground to a fine power that is made to dissolve in water, which preserves its essence, making its consumption more potent and effective than tea leaves. Although we didn't have the real Japanese tea, we used the tea my mother could afford and the tea she could find. Then, we substituted what we had and pretended. It is said that using the powdered green tea within the rules of the ceremony makes the five human senses most acute, encouraging high mental concentration, emotional calm and mental composure. 

My mother and I did not have the powdered green tea for our tea celebrations, but we read about the power of the tea when certain rituals were performed in conjunction with its consumption. This thinking was certainly parallel to my mother's thinking, in that, it led to control of one's behavior through control of one's own mind. 

"Thinking about something is good," my mother told me. "But thinking deeply about something is better." She explained that thinking deeply means rolling it over again and again in my brain and examining thoroughly what was being thought about, not to come up with a better answer, but to come up with a better understanding of the answer. That was meditation, the same thing I had seen her doing so many times.

Of course, my mother and I did not have Japanese, Chinese, English or any other exotic tea. We used Lipton Tea because it was cheap and available at the corner store. We emptied the tea leaves into the little tea pot of my China tea set. My mother said the loose leaves made a stronger brew. I didn't really like the taste of hot tea, but I sipped it with my mother--our pinkies pointed toward the sky--because she said I should know about such things. Then, I hosted pretend tea parties for my young cousins and friends. But I didn't bore them with what my mother and I had read about tea, since my friends and I were only drinking pretend tea, not even Lipton, just tap water.

"You can find meaning where there seems to be none," my mother said. "People have been doing that throughout time. Whatever you're doing, do it the best you can. Give it your full concentration. Challenge yourself with every little thing that comes your way; think of them as opportunities. Do all you can with whatever it is that you have or that you are doing." 

My mother made ordinary things, like sipping a cup of tea, into something special. Finding meaning in the simplest of things, she taught me how to make my life rich without reference to money.

"What does all of this tea talk have to do with me," I asked, watching my mother prepare my lesson. "Japanese tea ceremonies have nothing to do with us."

My mother saw differently, though. "You're wrong," she said. "We are everybody. To learn about us, you must learn about all people. If you leave someone out of your study, you leave out part of your."

~~~~~~~~ My Mother ~~~~~~~~

Littie Nash
Littie Nash
Littie Nash was one of the great global thinkers. She did not waste compliments on me. She reserved accolades to celebrate real accomplishments, not just because I dragged myself out of bed before noon on Saturday or because I made an 'A' on my report card. 

"Some things you have to do," my mother said. "And those things pass, not without notice, but without an all-day hullabaloo."

To support me, my mother sponsored my piano, ballet, tennis and swimming lessons, dance performances, recitals, literary and classical music club memberships, summer camps, out-of-state vacations, school trips and science fair exhibits, still managing to squeeze out of our tight budget money for the dentist to install braces on my teeth.

It took a great deal of courage and imagination during the era of Jim Crow laws for my mother to give me what she thought I needed. Jobs for African Americans were scarce and good jobs were mostly nonexistent for them. Black men were economically and politically marginalized and black women were publicly disrespected on a routine basis.

    Bigmama Didn’t Shop  At Woolworth’s  Sunny Nash

Hard Cover

Amazon Kindle
In the 1990s, I wrote columns for Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapers--stories from my childhood with my part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement. Texas A&M University published a collection of the stories about which Robin Fruble of Southern California said:

"Every white person in America should read this book! Sunny Nash writes the story of her childhood without preaching or ranting but she made me realize for the first time just how much skin color changes how one experiences the world. But if your skin color is brown, it matters a great deal to a great number of people. I needed to learn that. Sunny Nash is a great teacher," Fruble said.

Sunny Nash is an author, producer, photographer and leading writer on U.S. race relations. She writes books, blogs, articles and reviews, and produces media and images on U.S. history and contemporary American topics, ranging from Jim Crow laws to social media networking. Sunny Nash is the author of Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press), about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement.

Sunny Nash’s book is recognized by the Association of American University Presses as essential for understanding U.S. race relations. Nash's book is also listed in the Bibliographic Guide for black studies at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York; and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida. Nash uses her book to write articles and blogs on race relations in America through topics relating to her life--from music, film, early radio and television, entertainment, social media, Internet technology, publishing, journalism, sports, education, employment, the military, fashion, performing arts, literature, women's issues, adolescence and childhood, equal rights, social and political movements--past and present—to today's post-racism.

© 2019 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 
~Thank You~

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Arts Council for Long Beach Awards Sunny Nash for Inspiring Students

Sunny Nash’s innovative approach to personal empowerment--How a Child Builds Legacy--is a program to guide young students to think of their potential contributions to family, neighborhood, society and humanity.
(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017) 
Sunny Nash and Bobbie Smith Elementary Students

Viewing Nash's Historical Artifacts

Sunny Nash’s innovative approach to personal empowerment--How a Child Builds Legacy--is a cultural heritage preservation program that guides young students to think of their potential contributions to family, neighborhood, society and humanity. 

In addition to this Arts Council for Long Beach (ACLBgrant, Sunny Nash is a three-time winner of ACLB Professional Artist Fellowships (2003, 2009 and 2014).

"Cultural heritage preservation is another way of saying: Saving the story of you, which becomes your legacy. What I want to show you today are a few things to do to build your legacy," Sunny Nash told the students at Bobbie Smith Elementary School. 

“My legacy began with my earliest realizations that I exist," Nash said. When I was quite young, about your ages, I developed the desire to leave my mark for kids in the future like you to understand how my family lived and what we did in our lives. I wanted to save my family's legacy  to show how individual choices can make a difference to a family; and how collective family choices to educate themselves and live by certain principles can make a difference to society.”

Sunny Nash Talking to Students about Legacy
(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017) 
Sunny Nash
Talking to Students about Legacy
How a Child Builds Legacy Sponsors 
Arts Council for Long Beach
City of Long Beach
Cultural Alliance Long Beach
Building Future Leaders
Educator Alta Cooke
Community Activist Carolyn Smith Watts
Robin Perry & Associates

Sunny Nash created How a Child Builds Legacy--an exhibition of family artifacts, published journalism, interactive student discussions, guest speakers and a Time Capsule--as a model for students understand the control they possess over the direction of their own lives and to assume responsibility for what their legacy will become. 

(Photo by Sunny Nash © 2017)
Educational Achievements of Littie Nash 

Sunny Nash's Mother
The exhibition highlights Nash's family accomplishments earned before and during the Civil Rights Movement. Sharing civil rights history behind those accomplishments helps students realize: 

If those people can do all that, maybe I can do something, too.
(Photo by Sunny Nash © 2017)
Bobbie Smith Elementary Students
Viewing Sunny Nash's Published Journalism

"I was impressed with the students' knowledge of Civil Rights and American History," Nash said. 

"When knowledge of the past and the opportunity to imagine themselves beyond their immediate circumstances, students can experience positive changes in the way they see their future," Nash said. "Knowledge makes it easier for them to put their lives into a larger historical context and to place themselves into the American story."

(Photo by Sunny Nash © 2017)
Military Achievements of James Nash
Sunny Nash's Father
Nash's program is not just "old school." She told students how to use technology in the legacy building process, such as cellphone video and images, which she uses to produce and collect artifacts and exhibit pieces. 

"If I take pictures, video and audio with a cellphone," Nash told the children. "I download my digital files and save them in a retrievable format as soon as possible. Suppose something happens to the phone? The backup feature of the service does not preserve the highest quality image, which means your original is lost if you do not take action to save it from the device." 

(Photo by Sunny Nash © 2017)
Bobbie Smith Elementary Students
Viewing Sunny Nash's Published Journalism
For creating and preserving a lasting archive, Nash does not recommend public sharing on social media and free cloud storage. She said those options save images in fairly low resolution, making reproduction and printing low quality. 

"And what happens to your pictures and movies if the service experiences a glitch or service goes out of business?" She asked students. "To produce the highest quality for later use, save your archive to a device or drive, such as a flash drive or an external hard drive you can connect to a device. Digitizing my photo files at high quality allowed me to print my images and share them with you today."

"However, if public, cloud or social media archiving and storage are all you have," Nash said. "That's all you have. And some means of preserving the data is better than no means of preserving the data."

Sunny Nash is a three-time winner of Arts Council for Long Beach (ACLB) Professional Artist Fellowship Awards: 2003, 2009 and 2014
(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017) 
After seeing Sunny Nash’s Legacy, 
students contribute their own Legacy aspirations 
to Time Capsule
“I want children to lift their vision,” said Nash, who conducted after school classical music and literature programs for Long Beach Unified School District 2005-08. “I like sharing memories from my childhood, which I wrote as a syndicated newspaper column, published as a book, now part of my personal legacy.”

While celebrating the anniversary of the naming of Bobbie Smith Elementary School in Long Beach, California, students start building legacy with Nash's Time Capsule, for which they wrote and placed inside the capsule how they want to be remembered by future generations. 

The Time Capsule is a gift from Bobby Smith to the students, who will decide when the Time Capsule is opened.

(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017)
Bobbie Smith Presents Time Capsule 
To Principal, Monica Alas
Bobbie Smith, for whom Smith Elementary is named, said, “I am very pleased to have Sunny Nash present her work and interact with students at Smith Elementary. I have known and worked with Sunny on many projects through the years and appreciate her dedication to contribute to the culture of Long Beach.”

Monica Alas, Smith Elementary Principal, said, “Mrs. Bobbie Smith has been a role model to students since the school was re-named in December of 2015. Her partnership with Sunny Nash benefits our students with the exhibition highlighting authentic published journal entries and unique art collection.”

Bobbie Smith makes frequent appearances 
at Bobbie Smith Elementary School in Long Beach, California

(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017) 
Principal Monica Alas Thanks Guest Speaker and
former colleague of Bobbie Smith for her support
and participation
Alta Cooke, first African American High School Principal in Long Beach (Jordan), delivered a six-point speech on legacy building to Smith Elementary School students. "I want students to fulfill a positive image of self," Cooke said. "That image ultimately shines from within, and programs like Sunny's will help students develop their inner image."

Using her exhibit, Nash encourages students to preserve digital data, daily journals, artwork, report cards, awards, memorabilia, photographs and keepsakes to create a record of their lives. Emphasizing academic commitment and continued scholarship, Nash shares with students how her interest in preservation while in elementary school evolved into a journalism career, became her tool for contributing to national and global conversations and won awards for Cultural Heritage Preservation Programs.

“The concept Sunny Nash is presenting to the students is a good fit for what our organization promotes,” said Keith Lilly of Building Future Leaders. “Students need to learn ways they can become involved in preserving their heritage. It’s a lesson about life.

(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017) 
Sunny Nash pointing out artifacts from her own Legacy
To help students understand how to build their own
“Cultural Alliance Long Beach (CALB) supports universal concepts of art, as more than traditional forms of creative expression,” said Victor Ladd, CALB Vice President. “Art embraces traditional forms, as well as the preservation of expressions of cultural heritage, which Sunny Nash demonstrates in her presentation to Long Beach students.”

Nash displayed a collection of family artifacts belonging to her parents and grandparents, and a selection of newspaper columns she wrote about life with her part-Comanche grandmother before and during the Civil Rights Movement. 

(Photo by Victor Ladd © 2017)
Sunny Nash and Students
View Her Published Journalism
The newspaper columns were published originally in the State Lines section of Texas Magazine in The Houston Chronicle (Sunday Edition). The column and other articles Nash authored were syndicated nationally in Hearst and Knight-Ridder papers

Selections from Nash's newspaper columns were collected into her book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, recognized by the Association of American University Presses as a book for understanding U.S. race relations, and recommended by Miami-Dade Public Library System for Native American Collections. 

Nash previewed a portion of the How a Child Builds Legacy exhibition at the Khmer Parent Association Mother Daughter Conference, where her efforts were honored with a California State Senate Citation by Senator Ricardo Lara and a Jeannine Pearce Award.

How a Child Builds Legacy provides tools we all need to assert control over our environment--our lives, our legacy--to determine how we want to live and to be remembered,” Nash said. “Don’t all human beings deserve a chance to use tools that help them find meaning in life?” 


Sunny Nash
    Bigmama Didn’t Shop  At Woolworth’s  Sunny Nash

Hard Cover

Amazon Kindle
Sunny Nash, former nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, is the author of a nonfiction book about life before and during the Civil Rights Movement with her part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, selected by the American Association of University Presses as a Book for Understanding U.S. Race Relations, and recommended by the Miami-Dade (Florida) Public Library System for Native American Collections.

Sunny Nash is an award winning writer and three-time winner of Arts Council for Long Beach Professional Artist Fellowship Awards: 2003, 2009 and 2014-15. Her most recent Arts Council for Long Beach award is a 2016-17 grant for cultural heritage preservation programs, How a Child Build Legacy, designed to encourage young students to prepare archives of their accomplishments and plan for their future achievements.

Sunny Nash earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication, Texas A&M University; Postgraduate Media Studies Certificate, Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications, Arizona State University; Postgraduate Diploma, Instructional Technology, University of California, San Diego; Constitution Studies, James Madison’s Montpelier Center for the Constitution; and Postgraduate Digital Literacy Certificate, Simmons College Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Boston. Sunny Nash’s international studies include Intellectual Property Law, World Intellectual Property Organization Academy, Geneva, Switzerland; Diplomacy, Culture and Communication, United Nations; Research Methodology, Digital Preservation, Online Archival Information Systems, University of London; and Archival Data Governance, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne. 

© 2017 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 
~Thank You~

Before Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth - Ain't I A Woman?

Before Rosa Parks, there was Sojourner Truth.

Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
One of the first civil rights, woman's suffrage and anti-slavery activists was abolitionist, Sojourner Truth, whose feelings about the evils of slavery matched President Abraham Lincoln's own anti-slavery sentiments, which he began to form in his childhood. Widely advertised, Truth's speeches not only chastised America about slavery but also punctuated the difference in the positions of black and white womanhood in America. 

Sojourner Truth was born only ten years before the Founding Fathers began deliberations on a new U.S. Constitution to replace the old Articles of Confederation. She was six years old when the Bill of Rights was ratified, the document she would later use in her career to build her case for human rights.

Ten years before Union victory in the Civil War freed U.S. southern slaves under the order of the future President Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth delivered her famous Ain't I A Woman? speech at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, in December 1851. Sojourner Truth was as significant a figure in the anti-slavery issues of her 1850-60s generation just as Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Martin luther King were to anti-Jim Crow laws in the modern Civil Rights Movement of the 1950-60s.

Rosa Parks & E.B. Nixon Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks & E.B. Nixon
Montgomery Bus Boycott

It seems that racism and discrimination has always been rooted in sex. 

In 1944, the rape of a 24-year-old mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, was walking home from Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama, when seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered her into their green Chevrolet. They raped 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 and this was not the last battle against racism Parks would launch. The Montgomery Bus Boycott became a civil rights movement with the help of Martin Luther King that changed the world. The civil rights movement was also part of woman's a movement that began one hundred years earlier with Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?

Delivered 1851, Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the Negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say. 

Sojourner Truth was a slave in New York before the north freed slaves.

Sojourner Truth's Birthplace
Hardenbergh EstateUlster County, New York
Cabin Believed to Be Birthplace of Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth was born Isabella, around 1797 to slave parents, Elizabeth and James, from the Gold Coast of Africa. Nicknamed Betsy and Baumfree, her parents were owned by Dutch Revolutionary War Colonel, Johannes Hardenbergh of Ulster County, New York. Because they spoke only Dutch, their owners' language, they were classified as Afro-Dutch, as were many slaves on neighboring estates in that part of New York. The first U.S. Census indicates that the slave population in New York grew to 21,324 by 1790, making New York the largest slave-owning state north of the Mason-Dixon line, a distinction New York held for the two centuries the state practiced slavery: New York Slave Law Summary and Record.

After the deaths of her original owners, Isabella was sold away from her family at a New York auction. At nine years old, still speaking only Dutch, the young girl  learned English under brutal circumstances, while living through a succession of New York slave owners. For the next 20 years, until 1826, Isabella survived terror, cruelty, beatings and rape on a daily basis. One year before New York emancipated its slaves in 1827, Isabella, at age 29, planned her escape and walked away from her owners without permission, taking only her infant daughter. The rest of her children, still slaves at the time, had to be left behind with their father, a husband chosen for Isabella by their owners.

Sojourner Truth Lecture Bill

The year following Isabella's departure from her owners, New York law required slave owners in that state to free their slaves. Many former owners indentured their former property and some sold their former slaves illegally into the South where slavery was still legal. Isabella went to court to win the freedom of her 5-year-old son, who had been sold to an Alabama plantation, and became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. All of this was taking place about the time that Thomas "Daddy" Rice was touring with his new Jim Crow minstrel show and the North was busy constructing a body of black codes to control its newly freed slaves.

In 1843, Isabella changed her name to Sojourner Truth and reinvented herself, becoming associated with a number of questionable female and male religious groups and characters for financial and moral support. Eventually, she found the message she wanted to spread--the abolition of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and women's suffrage. She began preaching the gospel, traveling and speaking about the abolition of slavery and women's rights. To increase her fame, brand her image and spread her message, Truth embraced the new services professional photographers provided, creating portable images and publication of images onto to cards with printed messages. Professional photography began in earnest in America during the Civil War when Truth was most actively seeking publicity for her lectures. To increase her income, she solicited the assistance of a white associate, Olive Gilbert, to help her write her memoir, Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave, Emancipated from Bodily Servitude by the State of New York, in 1828, by Sojourner Truth, introduction by anti-slavery advocate and publisher, William Lloyd Garrison.

In process of time, Isabella found herself the mother of five children, and she rejoiced in being permitted to be the instrument of increasing the property of her oppressors! Think, dear reader, without a blush, if you can, for one moment, of a mother thus willingly, and with pride, laying her own children, the 'flesh of her flesh,' on the altar of slavery–a sacrifice to the bloody Moloch! But we must remember that beings capable of such sacrifices are not mothers; they are only 'things,' 'chattels,' 'property.' But since that time, the subject of this narrative has made some advances from a state of chattelism towards that of a woman and a mother; and she now looks back upon her thoughts and feelings there, in her state of ignorance and degradation, as one does on the dark imagery of a fitful dream. One moment it seems but a frightful illusion; again it appears a terrible reality. I would to God it were but a dreamy myth, and not, as it now stands, a horrid reality to some three millions of chattelized human beings. I have already alluded to her care not to teach her children to steal, by her example; and she says, with groanings that cannot be written, 'The Lord only knows how many times I let my children go hungry, rather than take secretly the bread I liked not to ask for.' All parents who annul their preceptive teachings by their daily practices would do well to profit by her example. Another proof of her master's kindness of heart is found in the following fact. If her master came into the house and found her infant crying, (as she could not always attend to its wants and the commands of her mistress at the same time,) he would turn to his wife with a look of reproof, and ask her why she did not see the child taken care of; saying, most earnestly, 'I will not hear this crying; I can't bear it, and I will not hear any child cry so. Here, Bell, take care of this child, if no more work is done for a week.' And he would linger to see if his orders were obeyed, and not countermanded. When Isabella went to the field to work, she used to put her infant in a basket, tying a rope to each handle, and suspending the basket to a branch of a tree, set another small child to swing it. It was thus secure from reptiles and was easily administered to, and even lulled to sleep, by a child too young for other labors. I was quite struck with the ingenuity of such a baby-tender, as I have sometimes been with the swinging hammock the native mother prepares for her sick infant–apparently so much easier than aught we have in our more civilized homes; easier for the child, because it gets the motion without the least jar; and easier for the nurse, because the hammock is strung so high as to supersede the necessity of stooping.

Abraham Lincoln Note to Sojourner Truth
Abraham Lincoln's Thank You Note
to Sojourner Truth 
After White House Meeting 
Sojourner Truth became invaluable to Union Civil War efforts speaking against slavery and recruiting black troops. Truth was also active in the women's movement, advocating for the inclusion of African American women in the political struggle and the benefits for women's voting rights and legal protection under the Constitution.

Sojourner Truth described in a letter meeting Abraham Lincoln on November 17, 1864. "I must say, and I am proud to say, that I never was treated by any one with more kindness and cordiality than were shown to me by that great and good man, Abraham Lincoln, by the grace of God president of the United States for four years more. He took my little book, and with the same hand that signed the death-warrant of slavery.”

American Black History is a concise yet thorough treatment of 500 years of African American history from its origins in the civilizations of Africa through the grim early years in America and the quest for freedom and civil rights. Richly illustrated, the book vividly details the rise of slavery, abolitionist movement, Civil War, Reconstruction, blacks in U.S. wars, the Harlem Renaissance, emergence of the civil rights era and the arduous struggle for the full claims of citizenship. Lively portraits of key cultural and political figures such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and countless others make clear the enormous contributions of blacks in America. Tests, answer key and bibliography are included. (112 pages).

Rosa Parks, Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement
Rosa Parks
Sojourner Truth was like Rosa Parksseveral generations later. Igniting the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 when she and Martin Luther King were arrested for remaining in her seat after being ordered by the bus driver to move for a white rider. Both Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks were women of conviction for their beliefs. Both women lived through their respective eras of Jim Crow laws. “People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired,” Rosa Parks wrote in her autobiography, “but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”


Sunny Nash
    Bigmama Didn’t Shop  At Woolworth’s  Sunny Nash

Hard Cover

Amazon Kindle
Sunny Nash, former nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, is the author of a nonfiction book about life before and during the Civil Rights Movement with her part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, selected by the American Association of University Presses as a Book for Understanding U.S. Race Relations, and recommended by the Miami-Dade (Florida) Public Library System for Native American Collections.

Sunny Nash earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication, Texas A&M University; Postgraduate Media Studies Certificate, Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications, Arizona State University; Postgraduate Diploma, Instructional Technology, University of California, San Diego; Constitution Studies, James Madison’s Montpelier Center for the Constitution; and Postgraduate Digital Literacy Certificate, Simmons College Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Boston. Sunny Nash’s international studies include Intellectual Property Law, World Intellectual Property Organization Academy, Geneva, Switzerland; Diplomacy, Culture and Communication, United Nations; Research Methodology, Digital Preservation, Online Archival Information Systems, University of London; and Archival Data Governance, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne. 

© 2017 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 
~Thank You~

Sunny Nash – Race Relations in America