Ten Questions

I was given the following ten questions to share on my blog. These were some really good questions. I was eager to answer them and share them on my blog.

1. What was the first book you learned to read? Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

2. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing? Staying focused. My mind tends to wander when I’m writing.

3. What is the one thing you wished all readers would do after reading one of your books? Leave a review! I’ve received almost a hundred direct messages from readers who enjoyed reading my first novel series, The Chronicles of Neffie. Very few took the time to also leave their review on my book. Good or bad, I want readers to leave a review. The Chronicles of Neffie has more ratings on Goodreads than Amazon.

4. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired? No schedule. I write when the inspiration and motivation hits me. I don’t like to force it.

5. If you had the choice to rewrite any of your books, which one would it be and why? My debut novel Poka City Blues. I rushed it because I was anxious to publish it. A huge mistake on my part. I was told by some top reviewers that if I had of taken a little more time to tweak it and spent more time on promoting it before its release, it would have done far better because of its reading potential.

6. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title? I think it’s very important. If your cover looks like crap and your title is boring or sucks, you can forget about readers buying your book(s).

7. Which character(s), created by you, do you consider as your masterpiece(s)? Neffie and Miss Reisa from The Chronicles of Neffie. Neffie is by far the most loved character I have written about and Miss Reisa is by far the most hated. I’ve been blown away by the direct messages from readers. Readers who read The Chronicles of Neffie are anxious to see what happens to Neffie in the second novel series. On the other hand, I’ve had some readers express a desire for Miss Reisa’s demise. Many want her to die because of how sneaky, conniving and cruel she is.

8. Do you see writing as a hobby or a passion? Both.

9. How active are you on social media? I’m not that active. I rarely post on Instagram or Twitter because I find both to be quite boring to me. That’s one of the reasons why I linked my blog to Twitter. My blog posts counts as “tweets”.

10. What advice would you give to your younger self? Stress less and don’t sweat the little stuff.

Now I have a question for you. What was the name of the first book you learned to read? Leave your answer in the comment section below.

Until next time…

Invisible Man

Invisible Man, published in 1952, is an award winning novel by the late Ralph Ellison. It touched on personal identity, individuality and the Black experience.

I personally found this novel to be both deep and telling. I could relate to some of the things he wrote about because I’m Black and I know how it feels to be “invisible” at times. Invisible in the sense where I’ve been purposefully overlooked or left out due to my color. Such experiences happened while at work and yet, they think I don’t notice. I notice it, but I must confess, I’m used to it. The majority of Black people are.

Since I’m an observer and thinker by nature, I would like to hear thoughts from those who also read this amazing novel. Regardless of your race or racial background, I would like to know what were your thoughts on Invisible Man. I enjoy hearing other people’s opinions and point of views. As always, if you are too shy to leave your comment, you can always shoot me an email.

If you have never read Invisible Man, you should. There is a reason why it won the National Book Award.

Until next time…

Rodolphe Desdunes

Rodolphe Desdunes was a poet, civil rights activist, historian and journalist. He was a key player in spearheading the blatant violation of the Separate Car Act. In connection with my previous post, Rodolphe also played a major role in bringing the Plessy v. Ferguson case to Supreme Court.

Born to a Haitian father and Cuban mother, Rodolphe despised the unfair treatment of Black people and other free people of color. Like many others, he was very vocal and was not afraid to speak out against the racial discrimination and segregation that affected Black people and other free people of color.

For as long as he lived, Rodolphe used his voice and penmanship to do as much as he could to change how Black people and other free people of color were treated. Seeing how he was born in 1849, there was not much he could do. To make life easier for himself, he could have hid his racial identity and passed for White, but he chose not to.

If you are an avid reader like myself, check out his book Our People and Our History. It is about fifty prominent Creoles of the 19th century. Rodolphe’s book, published in 1911, has been selected by a number of scholars as a must read because it has been deemed as culturally important.

Until next time…

Homer Plessy

When I mention the name Homer Plessy, that name doesn’t seem to ring a bell to most people. When I mention the landmark case he was involved in, then his name suddenly rings a bell. What landmark case am I referring to? Plessy v. Ferguson.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this case, the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling backed and upheld the practice of racial segregation in regards to the Separate Car Act. Keep reading because the elements of this case is very intriguing.

Homer Plessy, a shoemaker, laborer, clerk and insurance agent was by law an Octoroon. If Homer wanted to, he could have kept his African ancestry hidden and passed for White, but he refused to. Instead of passing, Homer along with other Free People of Color decided to use their racially ambiguous appearance to challenge the Separate Car Act.

Homer, along with the Citizens Committee, decided to violate Louisiana’s separate car law. Homer and the Citizens Committee wanted to show that if you can’t always tell who is White and who is Black, then why should there be laws in place to separate Whites from Blacks? They had a valid point. Keep reading because it’s about to get even more interesting.

When Homer boarded the “Whites Only” train car, he had no problems boarding. When the conductor came to collect his ticket, Homer told him he was 7/8th White and that he refused to sit in the “Blacks Only” car. Needless to say, everyone within that Whites only car immediately became upset. Why? Because they assumed Homer was White. Had he not revealed himself, no one would have ever suspected his racial background.

Homer and the Citizens Committee had hoped to prove their valid point that if you can’t tell who is really Black and who is really White, why create separate laws? They lost their case due to the insurmountable racism and discrimination that existed during their time, but their efforts were not totally in vain.

The Plessy v. Ferguson case played a huge role in the Brown v. Education case. The Plessy v. Ferguson case was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Racial segregation was completely outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Ask yourself this: If Homer Plessy were to stand in front of you, would you be able to detect his African ancestry? What about the rest of the racially ambiguous men who were apart of the Citizens Committee? These men were Free People of Color who could have passed for White as well. Do you know who the racially ambiguous man is below?

I’ll give you a hint: he played a major role in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, he too could have passed for White, was often mistaken as White, but he wasn’t White. In fact, he was half Haitian and half Cuban. Drop your answer in the comments if you think you know. 🤔 I will reveal the answer Tuesday evening.

Until next time…

Lucille Clifton

For Black History Month, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes by the late poet Lucille Clifton. Lucille’s works of poetry were so good that she almost won a Pulitzer Prize twice.

Lucille is known for several of her quotes, but there is one quote of hers that stands out from the rest. This particular quote was born out of her frustration with racism and discrimination. Lucille was born in 1937, so one can easily see how frustrating it must have been to live during that time as a Black person.

When you see this quote of hers, you will instantly have a connection to it. Why? Because millions of people use this very same quote to offer encouragement and advice. What quote am I referring to?

This one:

Do you agree? 👆🏾 I do.

Until next time…

Don Cornelius

When you mention the name Don Cornelius amongst the Black community, there is no need for an introduction. For those who are unfamiliar with Don Cornelius, he was the writer and producer of the nationally syndicated dance and music show Soul Train.

Soul Train was formed because Don noticed in the late 60’s that there weren’t any television shows geared towards Black artists and soul music. With the creation of Soul Train, soul and funk artists could showcase their talents.

Prior to Soul Train, Black people were limited to occasionally performing on TV as guests on White programs. All that changed with Don’s creation of Soul Train. Soon, White audiences started to tune into Soul Train and it’s popularity skyrocketed. Eventually, Soul Train would even showcase White artists whose music was centered around soul, funk and R&B.

I loved watching Soul Train as a child because I loved seeing some of the artists I grew up listening to perform live. And who can forget the infamous Soul Train line and those Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen commercials? Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen played a part in Don’s Black is Beautiful campaign.

Listening to Don talk with his nicely shaped afro and smooth deep voice was a treat. I could listen to him talk all day. One of my favorite parts of Soul Train is when it was ending and Don would say: “I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”

With all the success and positivity that Soul Train brought to the Black community, it saddens many how Don Cornelius’s life ended. Don suffered with seizures, battled Alzheimer’s and his health steadily declined. He was in constant pain the last 15 years of his life and unfortunately he decided to end his life.

Soul Train will always be one of those shows that is cherished amongst the Black community because it was a show where Black people were portrayed in a good way. It also showed people how to have fun, dance and get down!

If you have never watched an episode of Soul Train, you are really missing out. To see a brief clip of one of my favorite episodes, click here.

The next time you are on YouTube, search for it. It’ll have you smiling and dancing before you know it. 👌🏾

To listen to a brief catchy remix of the theme song, click here.

Until next time…love, peace and soul!

Black History Trivia

Do you know who was the first African American to hold a medical degree? I will give you a few hints:

1) This individual was the first University trained African American.

2) This individual graduated at the top of their class while also being the only African American in their class.

3) This individual was an abolitionist as well as a writer and author.

Do you know the answer? 🤔

Feel free to Google it as I’m sure some of you will. Go for it! 😉

If you think you know the answer, leave a comment. I will reveal the answer on Friday.

Until next time…