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Black History Month: Focus on Family II

  • 13th Jul'21

Black History Month 

I started the month talking about my grandmother “Gran”. I’m going to end the same way.

Through her hard, but successful life, she embodied characteristics that I emulated. Perseverance, risk-taking, and love for family.

Perseverance enabled her to not just survive after her husband’s death but to accomplish the goals she set for herself. I too persevered through many challenges as a young girl and still managed to achieve my aspirations.

Gran took calculated risks. When she became widowed and didn’t have a college education. She knew she needed a job beyond those for unskilled labor. She had been good at math. So she applied for bookkeeping jobs. When she got an interview, she went to the library and studied books on bookkeeping over a weekend. Monday morning she interviewed and got the job. Then when her children grew close to college age, she aggressively applied for jobs at Howard University with tuition benefits to help defray the cost of educating them.

I’ve taken calculated risks throughout my career and it has paid off well.

Gran loves her family and is fiercely protective. As an only child raised by an elderly aunt and uncle, all she wanted was a big family. And at 105 she has it. Not only does she count those related by blood, but Gran has been “adopting” people all through her life. She welcomes one and all into her home and her heart. African Americans have historically viewed family as more of a village, helping, supporting, and watching out for each other. I strive to live up to her open extended view of family. Like my great grandfather, she too is one of the biggest inspirations for me. 


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