Inspiring People – Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you have a good week? Did you touch base with that teen or young adult in your life? We had a pretty quiet week of activity at our house with the sub zero temperatures here in Minnesota. But still had family dinners as an opportunity to catch up.

Today is President’s Day

According to officeholidays.com, the first President’s Day was celebrated on February 22, 1796 commemorate our first president, George Washington’s, birthday. In 1971, it was shifted to fall on the third Monday in February to simplify the yearly calendar and to give federal employees some standard three day holidays. What are you doing to celebrate our nation’s presidents today?

Black History Month

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. The posts this month are focusing on leaders, issues and pioneers that have had an effect on the history of the different races in our country. I wanted to feature someone not as well known, but made her mark on civil rights history. This week’s inspirational person is Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Who was Ida B. Wells?

According to the book, Who was Ida B. Wells? by Sarah Fabiny, Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862.  She was born into slavery, but was freed by the Emancipation Proclimation in 1865.

As a young girl, her father asked her to read the newspaper to him and his friends. Through reading, she became interested in writing. When she lost both of her parents to yellow fever in 1878, she was put in charge of raising her siblings while she became and made a living as a teacher.

After two years of teaching at the rural school, Ida received an opportunity from her Aunt Fannie to move to Memphis and teach in a city school. While teaching school during the week, Ida started editing and writing a newsletter called the Evening Star on the weekends. This opportunity led her to start writing for a weekly newspaper. Through these different opportunities, she was able to start her career as a journalist.

She wrote for and edited many newspapers and published pamphlets about issues that affected blacks during the time after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the 13th Amendment in 1865.

Her Anti-Lynching Pamphlets

Ida B. Wells was a Black American activist at a time when many Black Americans weren’t speaking up for their rights. She wasn’t just speaking up with her voice, but through her writing and publishing pamphlets about how blacks were being treated, The main focus of her pamphlets was about about lynching.

Lynching – when someone is killed without a trial. Many times, black people would be killed because they are black. The punishment does not fit the crime.

This was in response to something that happened to a friend of hers, Thomas Moss, and two others. They were the victims of a lynching while serving time in jail for defending their grocery business, the Peoples Grocery. Here’s what happened…

A competing grocery across the street, owned by white men, were upset about how well the Peoples Grocery was doing. So they sent a mob of people to ruin the store. Ida’s friends had to protect their business because they knew the cops wouldn’t help them. When they shot their guns off, three white men were injured. Moss and his friends were taken to jail, but they never made it to court, they were taken from jail and lynched.

I wrote a book review a couple of weeks ago about Death of Innocence which was about Emmett Till, a teen who was lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. This would be a great read to learn more about the human effects of lynching and racism. Here’s the link to that book review. Death of Innocence

The articles that she wrote about the lynching made many people in Memphis mad and Wells received threats. But that didn’t stop her from continuing to write about the injustices being served as is shown in her quote below.

What impact did she make on American History?

  • She was a journalist, activist and researcher in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • She dedicated her life to fighting for equality of blacks, especially women

Inspiring woman in our country’s history

Ida B. Wells-Barnett wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about the social injustices taking place in our country towards Black Americans. Her skills in writing and connections as a journalist helped to voice her opinion in a time when newspapers were the main way that information was transferred to our country. She made her mark and was a key participant in the early part of the civil rights movement.

As a side note, Wells-Barnett was awarded a posthumous Pultizer Prize in 2020 recoginizing her as a journalist and her reports and publications about lynching.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about Ida B. Wells, here’s a link to the book I read to learn more about her. Who was Ida B. Wells? The author, Sarah Fabiny wrote several Who Was books about other interesting people in history. And there are many other books in this series written by other authors. Take a look and find another interesting person to read about.

The Hard Way

Cover design of my first book

Having friends that support us and have our backs is important throughout our lives. It is very important for teens to pick friends who will support and help them through those tough teen years. Looking for a good teen or young adult read about it? Here’s a link to The Hard Way. Be sure to check it out.

Have a great week!

Teen Challenge – Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Parents and Teachers: Did you touch base with that teen in your life this week?

Teens: Did you touch base with the adults in your life? Let them know what is happening with you? I bet they would love it if you did.

February is Black History Month

With February being Black History Month, I’ll be focusing this month’s posts towards people and events that have shaped our country’s view of different races.

With our country struggling with racial relations, I will be forcusing on the teen challenge of accepting diversity and inclusion of others who are different from ourselves.

Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, here are the definitions,

Diversity

Diversity is understanding that there are differences between people. Not only racial differences, but differences in culture, religion, sexual orientation, where you live and how much monry your may make.

Inclusion

Is accepting and including people who are different from ourselves and including them in what we are doing as equal partners.

This quote from Verna Myers, a Diversity and Inclusion Expert explains the relationship between these two ideas.

While we are able to see and understand that there are differences between us and others, do we make a point to include those who are different from us? Or,

  • Do we shun them?
  • Bully them?
  • Treat them differently because they are different from us?

The fact that we have historically treated people differently from ourselves has gotten us to the place we are now. Unable to get along with people who may be different from us. The Respect Diversity Foundation has programs they offer for kids and teens to teach us about diversity and inclusion.

Respect Diversity Foundation

This foundation is located in Edmond, Oklahoma. Its mission is to promote tolerance and acceptance across differences through communication, education, collaboration and the arts. They offer a program to educate kids and teens called “Different & The Same.”

“Different & The Same”

This is an engaging diversity program the foundation created to meet a need to educate kids and teens about diversity. They take this program to the schools and educate not only the kids and teens, but also the teachers and community.

Through this program, teens became kinder and more compassionate towards people. Some even became activists and advocates for diversity and inclusion with other people. This is the kind of grass root level teaching that needs to be done to help heal our country.

Here is a link to more information about the Respect Diversity Foundation and to the “Different & The Same” program.

There is another program out there to teach us about how to bring the ideas of diversity and inclusion into the workplace and other organizations. This college program is offered at Villanova University and other colleges throughout our nation. It would be something to consider if our teens are looking for a way to learn more about diversity and inclusion and become an advocate in companies and organizations they are involved in as adults.

Diversity and Inclusion – A graduation certificate program

Villanova University, located in Villanova, PA offers a certificate program called the Inclusion and Diversity strategy. It is the study of effectiveness of inclusion and diversity initiatives in organizations and other places in their lives. It is a part of the Human Resources course of study and is becoming a popular course of study to understand diversity and inclusion and actively improving those relationships in workplaces, organizations and other parts of our lives and society.

With our country struggling with racial relations, understanding diversity and activating ways of inclusion are important pieces to healing our country and improving how we are relating to one another. Here is a link to more information about the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy Certificate offered at Villanova University.

The Hard Way incorporates diversity

When my editor Michelle and I worked through revisions of The Hard Way, we have charcaters of different racial backgrounds interacting in the story. Not only to show what racial makup would typically be found in a burough of a city like New York City (which Manor City is loosely based on), but to show that characters of different backgrounds could come together as friends. Learn more about the book on the books tab of my website. Here’s the link

The Hard Way

What can we do?

Find out how the teens in our lifes feel about diversity and inclusion of others. Teach them with the programs that are available at places like Respect Diversity Foundation. This will go far to change the current views and to start adopting the ideas of diversity and inclusion in our society. What experiences have you faced with Diversity and Inclusion of yourself or others? Please let me know in the comments below.

PS – Something to check out!

Boys Town talks about Diversity this week

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Boys Town as a Teen Resource because of their programs and how they advocate for teens. Here is a link to my blog post.

This week on Wednesday, February 10th at 12:00 PM CST, Boys Town will be hosting a Facebook Live event, The History of DIversity at Boys Town. Diversity is a foundational part of their organization. The founder of the organization, Father Flanagan began providing care for children regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. Be sure to stop by their Facebook Page on Wednesday to check it out. Boys Town – Facebook

Have a great week!

Book Review – Blended by Sharon M. Draper

Book Review

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

It has been a while sincemy last post. For the past couple of months, we were getting a property we own ready for sale and that brought us right into the holiday season. No excuses though, I need to make time for the things I want to do. I’m back now and will just keep on posting like I was before.

Hope you had a great holiday season, despite COVID. I’m sitting at our dining room table looking at our Christmas Tree decorated with lights and ornaments. Our family had fun over the holidays even though it felt different without having our normal bigger family celebration together.

Have you checked in with that teen in your life yet? Our young adults are making the best of the situation by getting outside and doing the things that they can. The last couple of nights we have had good talks about snowboarding and today I got to see some GoPro coverage of their day on the slopes. It is fun to share enthusiasm with them about something they love to do. What are some of the things your teens are into?

Along the theme of books with a focus on racial issues, Sharon M. Draper writes her books about the young African American experience. I picked up this book at a local bookstore to support them. The name of the bookstore is Content Bookstore and it is located in Northfield, MN. Here is a link to their website. https://contentbookstore.com/

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Blended

Author

Sharon M. Draper

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

Sharon M. Draper has written over thirty books for teen readers. She has won many awards for them including Coretta Scott King Author Award for books about the young and adolescent African American experience and the John Steptoe Award for new talent. Draper was also the 1997 Teacher of the Year and was named the Ohio Pioneer in Education by the Ohio State Board of Education.

Summary of the book

This is the story of Isabella Badia Thornton, an eleven-year-old girl whose has one black parent and one white parent. The story is her life told from her perspective. Not only growing up as an eleven-year-old girl, but also having two divorced parents and blending their families when they both wind up getting remarried.

Reaction to the book

I loved the book. I could relate to Isabella and the things she went through as an eleven-year-old girl growing up. Draper did a nice job of bringing in the issues she faced with her race, even at her young age. With the increased awareness of Black Live Matter in our society, I picked up on a few more what would have been nuances to me before but are statements made by the author now. Through this book, we see some of those issues play out through the eyes of Isabella and how she learns that those issues are out there for someone of her mixed race to unfortunately must deal with.

Link to the author

If you want to learn more about Sharon M. Draper, here is a link to her website https://sharondraper.com/

Link to the book

If you want to purchase Blended, it is available through Amazon or the authors website. Or, you can order it online or pick it up from your local book store, like I did from Content Bookstore. If you don’t have a favorite local bookstore, you can shop online at Bookshop.org and have the purchase credited to local bookstores across the country.

My books

Looking for a couple more coming of age teen novels?

The Hard Way

Book #1 of The Way Series

The Hard Way which you can currently purchase through the link on my website. Or, it is free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

Shawn's Way

Book #2 of The Way Series

Shawn’s Way, my second book, took a publishing delay in 2020, but will be published in the next couple of months. Keep an eye on the blog and my website for information about the book launch, pre ordering your own copy and when the official publication date will be.

If you aren’t interested in purchasing a book, you can follow my writing journey by joining my email list. To be added, there is a subscribe tab on my website where you can fill in your name and email address.

Have a great week!

People in our country’s history – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you have a good week last week? Did you get a chance to check in with that teenager in your life? What did they have to say? We are in the process of painting our condo to sell it in the near future. Our youngest son came over and helped us out by moving some stuff for us to clear space to paint. With a little direction, we handed him the roller and gave him a lesson on how to paint a room. We took an opportunity to give him another life skill that will come in handy someday.

Speaking of learning, what else can we learn from others?

I enjoy reading memoirs. What is a memoir? Well, according to the Google dictionary, it is a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources. I’m currently reading one of Barack Obama’s called Dreams from My Father, which is a collection of memories written by him. With the focus on racial inequality lately, reading Obama’s book is shedding more light some of those same themes for me. The memoir not only tells his story growing up and getting involved in the community around him; it also talks about his own personal experiences with racial inequalities he has either witnessed or experienced while on his own life journey. If you are interested in reading it, check it out of you local online library or purchase a copy from your local bookshop at Bookshop.org.

Not only do we have racial inequality in our country, there’s also inequality when it comes to gender. We lost a champion of women’s rights last week to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer.

People in our country’s history

Do you know who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was? She was

• An associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court
• Second woman to serve on the Supreme Court after Sandra Day O’Connor
• Attended Harvard Law School (only 9 women in a class of 500 men) but transferred to (due to her husband’s work transfer) and graduated tied for first in her class at Columbia University
• Became the first woman to be on two law reviews, Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review

The list of things above show just some of the things she accomplished in her life, she was also

• A wife
• A mother
• A grandmother
• And a champion for women’s rights

When she earned her law degree in 1959, it was hard for women to do the kinds of things she wanted to do. You would think that being at the top of your class at Columbia, you should have no trouble finding a job. If you were a man, yes, but no so if you were a woman. She wound up doing a lot of teaching before she was even able to practice law. She took on her first position as a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963. She was informed that she would be paid less than her male counterparts because she had a husband with a well-paying job. If you are a woman in today’s society, would you want to have your salary based on what your husband does for a living? Or be paid a fair wage for the work you are doing?

She battled this type of gender discrimination throughout her life. Through her struggles, she pushed for and helped get many of the rights that women have today. She served on the Supreme Court for 27 years before she passed away and was seen as a champion of women’s rights. The results of that fight will live on in what she gave this country during her lifetime.

“Fight for the things you care about”

Without reading these life stories, we wouldn’t know about the struggles people have had to face in their life journeys. Obama and Ginsburg have made great strides towards equality in our government, but we still have a ways to go. Obama was working within our communities to try and make things better and then became the first black President of the United States. Ginsburg was breaking down barriers for women on her way to becoming the second woman associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Sure, they both had people supporting them, but they also kept going after the things they personally wanted to achieve, even when challenges were put in front of them to keep them from getting there.

People like Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspire me to fight for the things that I care about and want to achieve. Who inspires you to fight for the things you care about? Please let me know in the comments below.

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Two weeks left until the Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival! Be sure to check into their website on October 3rd and 4th. There are many authors participating with a wide variety of books to purchase. There are also different panels to check out too! I am participating in the YA Author panel. I will have an author profile where you can purchase a copy of The Hard Way and get a little glimpse of book #2 in The Way Series called Shawn’s Way, due to publish in November of 2020.

The Hard Way

Can’t wait to pick up a copy of The Hard Way? Click on the books tab onmy website and follow the link to get your very own. You still have plenty of time to read it before book #2 is released.

Have a great week!