In the pop music pantheon, guitar gods are a dime a dozen, ditto great sax-men, drummers, or trumpet players, but if you're looking for someone to sit in on the vibraphone in a hypothetical all-star band, there's no other choice than Lionel Hampton.
I found myself relating to the fraught situations that they experienced, particularly in regard to racial passing. You see, I have been passing for white. I know what you are thinking: How is a brown-skinned black woman with an afro passing for white?
We usually don't think about infant mortality in the United States. We associate it with the developing world or with the distant past. The fact that the U.S. has the highest infant mortality is not because of a lack of specialists or facilities.
How is it that a city which was once the crowning jewel in the story of black America has allowed itself to be positioned as the melting pot of black affliction? The Atlanta that I knew and grew up in was one of great pride and self-respect.
Perhaps many reading this will consider me a relic to place so much weight on accuracy. If so, I suppose it's an occupational hazard as a genealogist's worth is measured largely in credibility, but what do you think?
As a society, we have to recognize the broader importance of these sorts of moments and celebrate their contributions to our collective journey. They are especially valuable for drawing inspiration as we continue to fight the good fight.
Right now, I'm thinking about all those little kids -- especially in poor neighborhoods -- who want to play outside this summer, but can't, because the air is too dirty or their lungs are too weak. And I just can't make sense of a country that would trade children's lives for corporate profits.
As the genealogist who initially researched the first lady's family tree (four to five generations on all branches), I wanted to love American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multicultural Ancestors of Michelle Obama, but found myself disappointed -- mostly due to what's missing.
Making our neighborhoods safe won't be easy. We need to provide the young with the best, not the worst, educational opportunities. We need the police to make protecting the citizens of those streets a greater priority.