“Learn About” Questions
- What is a plantation?
- What is the National Park Service and what are National Parks near me?
- What are the Gullah Geechee and Creole cultures?
“Learn From” Questions
- What was my growing up experience like in my family? Who raised me?
- What is my cultural background? How did I come to learn about my own culture?
- Has there ever been a time I had to “stand in my own convictions?” What was the experience like for me?
I grew up, I was born in Michigan City, Indiana, but I grew up in _______ Plantation, Schlater, Mississippi, or Greenwood, Mississippi, in New Orleans and South Carolina. My background is Gullah Geechee and Creole. I was raised by my elders and at that time, I was separated from my siblings, eight of us, and for some reason I became the suitcase kid, OK? Whereas I lived from house to house with family or friends, community raised me pretty much. And I am a product of that, of community. Whereas I believe in serving. In doing so, coming up, or growing up in a national park service, has been interesting because you have to learn to stand in your own convictions, as did the Little Rock Nine. They knew what they wanted. They wanted that education. They pursued it despite the circumstances, the surrounding circumstances that made it. What we call standing in your convictions, and they definitely stood in their convictions. Knowing who you are is very important and validating yourself. You can’t wait for others to validate you. So I had to learn that growing up because once upon a time, my culture was very insignificant. We had to hide who we are. It was not popular as it is today to be Geechee, OK? Come here you little Geechee girl, yah. Or, come sit your bottom down, yeah? And so, growing up, they say, you must take care of the root for to heal the tree. Meaning that you take care of that child, cultivate that child, and that healing process began because they pass it on. So in saying, you must take care of the root for to heal the tree. Carrying that with you, in the beginning you don’t understand that.