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Black History to Me

Gladys Nanny Layne - 1993

Black History is my Grandma Gladys “Nanny” Layne who bore 14 children and raised more than 46 grandchildren as a result of the crack pandemic and war on drugs that plagued our family from the late 1970’s until her death in 1996. Black History Month is a time to celebrate, remember and learn from our past so that we can honor, unite and fight for a better future.

Though we as Black People, as a nation and as citizens of the world should celebrate the awesome achievements of all people all the time, this month has been designated to shine a bold, beautiful, bright, brilliant light on the lives, events, gifts, sacrifices and contributions Black People and African Americans have made in the world. From Astronauts to your favorite Zumba instructor (A to Z), February invites you to learn, grow and be enriched by the true history, testimonials, food, music, and cultural breakthrough Blacks have made and are still making today.

It’s more than the Dream of Dr. King and the seat Mrs. Rosa Parks took on that bus in

December of 1955. Black History is The Exonerated Five (formerly known as the Central Park Five), the Jackson 5 and the Five Heartbeats. From Shirley Chisholm to Chitterlings, from the Black Panther Party of the 1950’s to the Marvel Blockbuster Movie of 2018, it's our history. Black History is Octavia Butler and oxtails in gravy. It’s Lady Sings the Blues, Jazz Bands, Neo - Soul and Hip Hop Music on a mix tape while getting your hair braided for a family reunion. Black History is the Affordable Care Act aka Obama Care and the Tuskegee Experiments from 1932 - 1972. It’s Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Marches in Selma Alabama.

Black History Month is my favorite time of year because everyone is invited to join in my unapologetic, infectious and glorious celebration of my people, our struggles and perseverance through it all, past, present and future. I SAY IT LOUD: I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD!!!

Layne Family Reunion 2016 - Vallejo, CA (Silena far right, sitting front, bottom in white shirt and sunglasses)

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