Sunday, November 17, 2013

Many Rivers Episode 4: Should We Go Or Should We Stay?

My response to Episode 4 Many Rivers To Cross: Making A Way Out Of No Way.

I started off with a small poem I wrote and then highlighted a few of my ancestors that made a difference in their communities and in their own personal lives.

Should We Go or Should We Stay?

How can we make a way out of no way?
Got to buy me a pick, a shovel, a small plot of land
With the Grace of God, I will do what I can.
                                                                                                                         Forces are against us, white sheet and hoods                                      
Looking at every truck that comes through our neck of the woods.
Right and left in the day go the sway of our head
Praying and praying we don’t come up dead. 

As we lend our ears to the sounds that say Get up!
Don’t even bother to dress, they are on their way
Peeking out the window late at night
Consoling our kids who are shaking with fright
Peace be still

Should we go or should we stay?

Can we hold our heads up high as we walk down the street?
Being men why should we shuffle and look down at our feet
We love our women;  yes, we too love deep
Trusting and protecting as we tip toe through the waters of life

Should we go or should we stay?

Trouble the water, down in the lower South
 In this new day of reconstruction
Or take a trek where life springs a new beginning
As we wade in those troubled waters
Regardless of where we stay
We will make a way out of no way.

Jimmy The Ugly Crow:

My aunt Ethel's grandfather Richard Chapman family had to endure this awful charge and continue to make a way out of murky water.

Most of my ancestors chose to stay in Texas for whatever reason. They lived in counties like Galveston, Fayette, Liberty, San Jacinto, Grimes, and Harrison. However many of their children moved to other cities as they got older. 

Texas had numerous teaching jobs that needed to be filled as more and more schools were built.

Uncle Owen Daviss had several teaching and principal positions. Kenedy School was one of the ones he was troubled with towards the end of his career in that town.
This is a letter that my uncle Owen sent to a Mr. Jacquet telling of his concern about not only him losing his job because of desegregation but for all the other Negro teachers who would be displaced. 

The Bad: This letter below tells of his concern in 1955 of the aproaching storm. 

Here is a portion of the letter as he breaks down the stream of unfairness.

 The response Uncle Owen received was cloudy and stagnant:

Breaking down the bad came down like a rolling waterfall.

Low and bitter as if he knew all they went through instead of playing the blame game on that bridge over troubled waters.

After all that was said and done Uncle Owen went on to be one of the best educators in Grimes and Liberty County Texas.

One of my collateral great uncles Wash Lester  helped to build numerous Rosenwald schools in Harrison County.

Relatives went to Bishop and Wiley College. One uncle Rev L.R. Taylor was a trustee at Bishop for years before they moved the school to Dallas. He was also a Moderator for the Texas Louisiana Baptist Association.

My paternal relatives attended  Praireview and Texas Southern and taught at schools like Paul Quinn in Waco.

Harry Daviss went to Texas State University for Negroes

Some went on to attend Meharry in Tennessee like my great grandfather J D Daviss and came back to Texas to practice at the Houston Colored Hospital as well as private practice.

Those who migrated and chose to stay in their perspective states:

A better life was made for and by them as well as their offspring.  From Pullman Porters, School Principals, and just plain hardworking men who took care of their families in hard times and good times.

William D. Williams:    New York
Lloyd Williams:            Washington
Lee Williams:               California
R.D. Burks:                   California
Jerome Burks:               California
T.R. Daviss:                 Colorado
Moses Davis                 Colorado
Wright C Daviss:          Oklahoma
Floyd Mitchell:             Oklahoma
Harry Davis:                 Kansas


Kristin said...

I'm working on another migration post and it's amazing how much of the beginning has to do with education. I enjoyed your post. Not the part about the lynching, but the rest. And the lynching was a part of the whole.

LindaRe said...

I think your poem depicts the uncertainty our people felt, never knowing when a misstep may cost you or someone you love their life.

Cecelia J.Cook said...

My eyes always enjoy the visuals you incorporate into your blogs, Vicky. I also thank you for sharing your uncle's letter, for it gives me greater insight to the minds of my own childhood Educators, and the social climate in which they themselves were educated.As always, you hit it Home :)

Ms Vicky said...

Education is what they needed for their children. I am amazed at the courses that were offered. Thanks Kristin!

Ms Vicky said...

My sentiments also LindaRe and oft times no mistakes just plain damned if you do.

Ms Vicky said...

Thanks Cecelia I appreciate those words and very happy to share.