Black History Month-Black History in My Books – Part III

I incorporate Black History into my books, and as promised, throughout this month I have been posting excerpts from my books that reference Black history.  I’m closing out Black History Month with this final excerpt from WISHING ON A STAR:

“You should talk—Woodrow.”

Would that it were that simple–no pun intended.  At least there was a President named Woodrow.  My name’s not Woodrow, Shay.”

“It’s not?  Well, what is it?”

Woody looked at her self-consciously for a beat before saying softly, “It’s Woodington.”

“It’s what?”

“It’s ‘Woodington’, Shay.”

Shay paused a moment before asking, “Uh…How did you wind up with a name like Woodington?”

He smiled resignedly, “Wait; it gets worse.”  He stood, and drew himself up to his full height, “My full legal name is Woodington James Hollister–the third.  So you see how I got it.  I inherited it.”

Shay blinked, “Good Lord.”

“Woodington was my great-grandmother’s maiden name, and her father was born a slave.  He was one of the first post-slavery blacks to get an education, and he became a teacher.”  Wood paused a moment, remembering.

“I’m sure you know that during slavery it was illegal for blacks to learn to read,” he continued.  “Anyone who taught a slave to read was severely punished.  So my ancestor spent his life teaching other black people how to read.  However, even though slavery had by then technically ended, he was caught teaching–and lost his life because of it.”

Shay looked up at Woody, spellbound by this tale.

“He had no sons.  Understandably, my multi-grandma, his daughter, was proud of him, and didn’t want his name to die with him,  so she named my grandfather Woodington.”

“What a sad–and beautiful–story.  It’s a name you should be proud to bear.”

“It’s a mouthful.  When I was a kid, I got teased, and sure got into enough fights because of it.  But when I got old enough to understand…  Yes, I am proud of it.”

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“The Average Black Girl” by Ernestine Johnson AWESOME!

Ernestine Johnson kicks off the Arsenio Hall Show with an amazing and moving performance of “The Average Black Girl.” You will get chills from this performance. Booking:   website:

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Black History Month-Black History in My Books – Part II

I incorporate Black History into my books, and as promised, throughout this month I will be posting excerpts from my books that reference Black history.  The excerpt that follows is from FANTASY:

FANTASY  eBook Cover

FANTASY eBook Cover

“There before her was a set of bent, rusty shackles, and the crude document displayed next to it said in indelible words across the top—BILL OF SALE.

Sameerah closed her eyes and just stood trembling.  Some soul, some poor human soul, had once worn those shackles.  Had been sold like a piece of meat.  And who knew—perhaps the blood of that hapless soul even now flowed through her own veins.

Sameerah forced herself to open her eyes, to gaze upon the sight.  Whoever, whenever, this unknown ancestor had lived and died, Sameerah felt obligated to share a least this infinitely small portion of his/her pain.

And then she saw it.  Throughout the years, throughout the centuries, a small drop of blood was still visible on the fetters, bonded now to the crumbling metal for all eternity.

Sameerah could take no more.  She turned and ran blindly from the room, out into the fresh, flower scented air.  She darted down a narrow pathway, and found a bench hidden behind a bush.  Sitting down, she crossed her arms and hugged herself, rapidly rocking to and fro.  Despite the dazzling sun and the heat of the day, she felt chilled, chilled to the bone.

“Sam?”  Tony sat down next to Sameerah.  “Sam, what’s the matter, baby?”

And Sameerah reached out to him, to his warmth, to his life force.  She found herself in his arms, trembling.  “Did you see them?” she hoarsely whispered.

“Yes,” Tony replied.  He seemed to know nothing further was required, as he just sat beside her, cradling Sameerah in his arms.

“Oh, Tony,” Sameerah breathed at last.  “You read about it.  You hear about it.  But to actually see those things.  To know in your gut that they were…are real, that those things happened to someone that but for the mercy of time could have been you.”

“I know, Sameerah.”  Tony didn’t speak for a long moment.  “But I think it can work in the reverse, too, you know?” he finally whispered.  “That maybe somehow, someway, they can see us.  That they know the agonies they suffered are no more.  And that seeing us makes their hearts glad.”

Sameerah peered up at Tony through her tears, a ghost of a smile on her lips, “Do you think so?  Do you really think that could be?”

Tony smiled back at her. “Yes, I do.”  He gently kissed Sameerah’s forehead, and looked off into the distance.  “At least, I pray it is.”

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH – A Conversation: Maya Angelou & Dave Chappelle

A fantastic conversation between two geniuses.  They are discussing, among other things, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. And in addition to the depth of the content of what they are each saying, what knocks me out is the obvious respect each has for the other.  They are 45 years apart in age, but Chappelle listens to and respects Ms. Angelou’s wisdom of experience, and she listens to and appreciates him and his viewpoint from a more recent era.   In a way Chappell is a product of the things Ms. Angelou’s generation fought so hard for.  It’s like he is gaining knowledge on the processes that produced him, and she is learning about some of the fruits of her efforts.


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BLACK HISTORY MONTH – “Famous, Fabulous Black Women”

black garbo

Pins about Fabulous, Famous Black Women hand-picked by Raynetta Manees | See more about fantastic black women, past, present, and future.

In honor of BLACK HISTORY MONTH I invite you to visit my Pinterest page “Famous, Fabulous Black Women.”  There you will find much info about famous sisters, past and present.  But you will also find fascinating info on sisters that are, appallingly, not so well known, sisters who made important contributions to Black History and Black culture.


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Check out my Cousin Najah Lewis on American Idol!

UPDATE 2/5/15: My cousin Najah Lewis (below) was not shown individually on American Idol last night, but she was in the first called group of thirty and DID make it on to the next round!!

My beautiful and talented cousin, Najah Lewis, got a “Golden Ticket” to Hollywood at her American Idol audition.  She will be on Idol tonight and/or tomorrow night (Feb. 4/5) for the Hollywood segment.  Go, Najah!

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Black History Month-Black History In My Books

black history monthHappy Black History Month!  I will be singing at/speaking at Black History functions this month.  So far they are all private functions, but if any public ones develop I will post them, and my family, friends, and readers would certainly be welcome to attend.

I incorporate Black History into my books, and throughout this month I will be posting excerpts from my books that reference Black history.  The first is the following excerpt from FOLLOW YOUR HEART:

FOLLOW YOUR HEART -2012 digital cover

FOLLOW YOUR HEART -2012 digital cover

“Do you think Ty is in danger?”

Tameka was confused, “Danger?  I don’t understand what you mean.  He’s in jail, but as far as I know he’s not in any danger.”

Palmer chuckled sadly, “You’ve led a sheltered life, haven’t you?  Unfortunately, in this country one of the most dangerous places for a black man to be is in jail.  I can’t hear the words ‘southern sheriff’ without seeing fire hoses, billy clubs, and police dogs.”

Tameka recalled the terrifying grainy black-and-white films of atrocities that occurred in southern towns before she was born.  She remembered her mother’s haunting narratives of being spit on during civil rights marches when she was a child.

“I understand now.  But this southern sheriff is a black man, and an old family friend.  He doesn’t allow the mistreatment of any of his prisoners, black or white.  Ty’s in no danger.” 

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