BlackHistory365

Sepia toned photograph of Eliza Ann Gardner, courtesy National Parks Service
Sepia toned photograph of Eliza Ann Gardner, courtesy National Parks Service
Eliza Ann Gardner, photo courtesy National Parks Service

Eliza Ann Gardner is the reason the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church has been ordaining women since 1898. This underground railroad conductor, mother of missionaries, and revolutionary always called it like she saw it, and that is what makes her my shero of the week.

Born free in New York state on May 28, 1831, Eliza was raised in Boston by abolitionist parents who were possibly related to W.E.B DuBois. Regardless of family connections, being raised by two well-known abolitionists certainly had its benefits — Eliza had the opportunity to discuss the issues of the day with great minds like…


Poetry

Photo by Jeffery Erhunse on Unsplash

Another Black man is killed, and I am filled with anger.

Not sadness.

Not disgust.

Anger.

Another Black man is killed and it is

Evergreen.

I do not care what Yebba says

It cannot be this hard in heaven.

Flesh necessitates fuel.

I have read poems for women in rage,

and now I am writing one.

Another Black man is killed and I am reminded

Black men resurrect

in their Easter Sunday

of hashtags,

Publicly dissected.

(Dissonance)

Black womxn are quietly vivisected

Privately mourned

Silently buried

burned

or, abandoned as

desiccated carcasses,

the vultures feast.

Another Black man is killed…


Race in America

Or a slave owner

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

The word slave comes from the medieval Latin word sclavus and was originally used to describe people of Slavic ethnicity. ‘Slav’ was a catch-all term for Indo-European migrants who shared a common language root. ‘Slav’ originally meant ‘word’ and indicated many different tribes who could understand each other’s words.

Prior to the late 13th century, ‘slav’ had no negative connotation, it simply described a language group, like ‘Hispanic’. The people were also called sporoi — a Greek word that references scattering grain to the wind. Sporoi encompassed people from the Caucasus mountains, modern day-eastern Europe, and even modern-day Britain and…


Food

A beginner's guide to single malt scotch

Six mini bottles of scotch. From left to right: Deanston’s, Glen Scotia, Tomintoul 12, Glendronach 18, Glendronach 12, bunnahabhain 12
Six mini bottles of scotch. From left to right: Deanston’s, Glen Scotia, Tomintoul 12, Glendronach 18, Glendronach 12, bunnahabhain 12
My personal distillery tour

Apparently, whiskey is Irish and whisky is Scottish. I learned that from a very sexy in a hot-for-teacher way grad student from Glasgow. If you haven’t read my article Navigating Scotland as a First Time International Traveler*, feel free to check it out now. I’ll wait.

Okay, so as you now know, one of the best things about Scotland is that it’s the home of single malt scotch. Just as true champagne can only be made in France, true scotch can only be made in Scotland. …


Travel

And what to skip

Sticky toffee pudding in white bowl topped with a scoop of ice cream
Sticky toffee pudding in white bowl topped with a scoop of ice cream
Sticky toffee pudding. Need I say more? All photos are the authors.

If you’ve been following my adventures in Scotland series, you already know that my first international voyage taught me three things: Heathrow is the seventh circle of hell, it’s whisky, not whiskey, and everything tastes better in Scotland.

I could write an entire book on my undying love affair with Scottish food. For now, I’ll focus on the three things I really wish we could get in the United States.

Food in Scotland is generally much better quality than food in the States. I am told that this is because of EU regulations on produce and…


Travel

Planes, trains, and automobiles

The Queen’s castle in Edinburgh sits above a green hill
The Queen’s castle in Edinburgh sits above a green hill

When God first told me to go to Scotland, I knew exactly two things about the country: scotch and Highland romance novels. While that’s not a bad foundation for a relationship with a person, it’s probably less than ideal for visiting a foreign country. This was my first experience with international travel, and I was going to a cold and rainy land I knew nothing about.

Navigating Scotland was an adventure complete with breathtaking views and rom-com worthy foibles. Consider this one part cautionary tale, one part how-I-spent-my-winter-vacation.

My flight plan was… unconventional. Traveling on a…


Race in America

I can’t be sure

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

My best friend says I’m a glass-half-empty type of person. I prefer to think of myself as a realist, if a bit cynical. Yesterday, Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered George Floyd in broad daylight on a public street with dozens of onlookers, was found guilty on all counts.

Most people are celebrating this, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. What does this verdict change?

And I don’t mean that in the what-does-this-change-in-the-great-scheme-of-things-because-we-have-a-shitty-criminal-justice-system way, although that is a valid question I’ll get into later in this article.

I mean, how does the emotional impact of this verdict…


Writing

Black or black? And yes, it matters.

Brown skinned black woman in denim jacket writing in notebook with a pencil. A cup of coffee and two books rest on the table.
Brown skinned black woman in denim jacket writing in notebook with a pencil. A cup of coffee and two books rest on the table.
Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Six years before I was born, James Baldwin gave a speech at UC Berkely about what it means to be a Black writer.

“What a writer is obliged to some point to realize is that he is involved in a language which he has to change. For example, for a black writer, especially in this country, to be born into the English language is to realize the assumptions of the language, the assumptions by which the language operates, are his enemy.”

The English language, at its default setting, is inherently racist. It is…


Economics

For the purpose of this article, I’ve settled on a theoretical reparations payout in the amount of half a million dollars each for every Black American

Attractive Black man with braided locs smiles while holding hundred dollars bills like a fan
Attractive Black man with braided locs smiles while holding hundred dollars bills like a fan
Photo by REX WAY on Unsplash

Last week, the United States Senate passed a 1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief package that includes modest cash payments for American families and massive asset purchases for banks — proving once again where our national priorities lie.

Historically speaking, the United States has a track record of doing what it takes to keep the uber-rich happy while generally screwing over everyone else. That’s why in 2018 Congress solidified and expanded the tax exemption for being a private jet owner. It’s why in 2008, banks got bailed out by the government while homeowners got put out in the streets.

It’s why…


Equality

Brown skinned Black woman with waist lenghth locs wearing a white t-shirt that says “First of all, no.”
Brown skinned Black woman with waist lenghth locs wearing a white t-shirt that says “First of all, no.”
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Last month, I wrote about America’s Sordid History of Paying Reparations to White Enslavers. After reading my article, a church member reached out to me to let me know about the Haitian revolution and how France charged them 21 billion dollars (in 1825!) to acknowledge their freedom, a sum Haiti is still paying today.

“Will France pay it back?” he asks.

*groans in irritated Black girl*

I’m not sure what was going on in his head when he wrote this response (or why he insists on copying my entire article into an email instead of sending out a link to…

Ajah Hales

World Changer. Social Thinker. Business Owner. #WEOC

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