A Tribute to My Grandma

(And Perhaps Yours, Too)

Today I am here to celebrate the life and legacy of Mrs. Joanne Taylor Lovelace. She was my “Grandma” and today would have been her 100th birthday. She missed this occasion by less than a week. After 4 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days in hospice care, she met her creator surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and a great grandchild!

How we loved Grandma! She was full of love and light, and she always had a solution to our problems. As a kid, my problems were pretty small. I have been blessed with a loving and successful family that has uplifted me to my highest potential.

But, as an adult, the troubles of the world began to weigh me down. Whenever I was sad or depressed, I knew that I could come to Grandma’s house and she would have a story, a saying, or just a good old fashioned “Come to Jesus” lecture that would put me back on the straight and narrow path whenever I would stray.

Last year, I came to Grandma distressed about the events occurring in Ferguson. I couldn’t stop seeing the body of Michael Brown lying in the street, the protests that threatened to destroy the city and the callousness of the police state that didn’t understand our people’s righteous indignation and grief.

Grandma gave me a good talking to with tears in her eyes. She was always so wise! She saw and heard and felt so much. She gave me hope for all the tomorrows that I would live so I want to share some of what she told me with you today.

Grandma told me to remember that all of us, who are descendants of Africa, came from the same Motherland. We shared the same journey, the same pain, the same horror. She told me that she had heard stories from her grandmother, who had heard stories from the elders about the pain of being ripped from their homeland, branded like cattle, and put into the hulls of ships.
Grandma reminded me that while lots of folks died en route, the others survived only to bleed, suffer, and die, enslaved like animals. Our people endured a lifetime of terror, in the complete control of White slave masters who, motivated by profit, greed, and hatred, exacted a horrific price from the bodies, minds, and souls of our people, to build this great nation.

I don’t know why any of our people chose to survive, but thank God they did.

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