I grew up in a neighborhood where the kids did not look like me. We were the only Black family in our neighborhood. My school looked very similar to my neighborhood. Although a few Black kids were bussed in, the majority of the students were white. As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I still felt the residue of racism that the Jim
Crow South left behind. Occasionally, the kids in the neighborhood came over to play. We were rarely included in the personal and private world of my neighborhood friends. I recall having a slumber party and only church friends (African American children)
showed up, not the kids I went to school with or my neighbors. My feelings were deeply hurt. I pondered why it was okay to play outside, but we were not included in the extra activities with the other kids in the neighborhood. It was at this point in my life that I began to look at why things were still so segregated in the early ‘90’s in Alabama. Then I began to seek my own truth, and I found that through exploring history. Unfortunately, the schools that I attended never taught African-American history, so my parents taught me at home. Before I went to school, I knew about Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hammer, and Marcus Garvey. I always challenged my history teachers and questioned why I never saw Black people in my history books. Due to my cultural views, I was labeled a militant Black girl in high school. I was angry and pissed off that I wasn’t taught my own history in school. It angered me that we only learned about white American Anglo Saxon history with a paragraph or two about Indians (as Native Americans were called in our text books). I was determined to study my own history that was meaningful to me. I felt like
my voice was always silenced. The rules of democracy state “the majority rules” and clearly I was in the minority. I began to ask myself questions like, “Why wasn’t what I wanted important? Is the majority always right? Just because more people agree or believe in an idea does that make it right?” I was a student that the administration felt was always being unruly. I was tired of feeling invisible, yet the color of my skin made me very visible in my school. Mathews (1997) exclaims, “As African-American Women, particularly those of us who live and work in circles where our heritage is not the norm,
the efforts to live in a non-African American space is like trying to walk on the moon without a moon suit. You will float away or die of lack of oxygen unless you equip yourself properly” (p. 35). I quickly learned to be quiet and keep my opinions to myself.