Both sets of my Grandparents were part of the Great Migration, which saw the relocation of over 6 million African-Americans from the rural South to cities in North, Midwest and Western parts of the United States from 1916 to 1970 in search of better opportunities.
My paternal Grandparents made their way from Arkansas and my maternal Grandparents hailed from Tennessee and Alabama in the 1940’s.
The one commonality between them?
They left – and with the exception of visits to the family members that remained in the South…
None of them bothered to look back.
They loved you and you saw fit to love them back.
I saw the resolve that you infused my Grandparents and parents with and it infected me.
The testimony of my last surviving Grandparent, my maternal Grandmother, my Bigmama, who is 95 years old at the time of this writing never ceases to inspire me.
“There wasn’t nothing for me in Alabama – and I wasn’t going to work in nobody’s blamed kitchen where they would try to treat me like a dog!
I got my a ticket for Chicago on Friday, got there on Sunday and I was working by Monday!
I use to ask her if she was scared…
If the prospect of leaving the place that she called home since her birth – to go to a strange place where she only knew a couple of people outside of her Aunt.