What Lucille “Big Mama” Allen knew for sure, that we are created to serve God by loving and serving one another. “Big Mama” gave us all permanent lessons that were her authentic gifts asking us to rise up and do the work.
She was a child of the Jim Crow, lynching and Separate but Equal eras that permeated her sense of self. She came after the reconstruction that her Mother Mary told her about. In every front porch story, Big Mama spoke of the “time when we were liberated.”
She stated she knew of “the time when we had senators, our own 40 acres and cities of business before they destroyed them and killed our purveyors.”
It is a fact that the humans that held enslaved Africans did not create or have an exit strategy! The only group enslaved on U.S. soil was Africans.
On top of the utter inhumanity and indignity of slavery, there was enduring economic disadvantage in both obvious and subtle ways. Wages were denied to slaves, of course.
In addition, slaves were unable to save for investment. They could not accumulate capital because they were capital – bought, sold, traded and insured by those who enslaved them.
The “market value” of slaves in 1840 was double that of the entire railroad system, which was considered the country’s most valuable asset. The Second Reconstruction is marked by the civil rights movement, African Americans fought for basic civil rights and civil liberties protected by the Constitution for the “Okie Doke” folks. The changes included equal access to public facilities, housing, education and as Big Mama said, “good government jobs.”
Yet the third reconstruction is about taking direct action for change and will include our voices, job origination and building economic wealth but for this to happen we will need to rise up in action.
Big Mama told us, time and time again to be ready because when the time arises that we get another reconstruction, we have to be ready to bless every soul forward. She created a sense of urgency and action in me that I have not been able to shake!
Real hospitality is not about what we do – it is about who we are. But the “peculiar institution” spread its suppressing web throughout the American South, gaining momentum with the rise of the cotton economy and only being abruptly stalled with the Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution one to two lifetimes ago to “reconstruct” our lives.
But the Reconstruction had a lasting impact on the American tapestry. It was turbulent! It was a strategy to reintegrate rebellious states back into union without the free labor component that the “peculiar institution” thrived on.
Keep reading the next three columns and this will all make sense!
Just recently I received my juror notice, I love serving, but this juror screening opened the door to prove we needed a third reconstruction. So after 1) a deadly pandemic wreaking havoc on my own family and 2) after the economic collapse kindred to the Great Depression and 3) a racial awakening showcasing existing racial injustices, I received a “requested order’ to be a juror.
I was excited, but not for long. I arrived in a room of hundreds and hundreds of citizens unmasked, no social distancing and no ‘flatten the curve directives at all. Yet nothing illegal because the governor’s policy allowed all this to happen.
I stood near the bathroom yet some BIPOC gatekeeper told me if I don’t take a seat she would have the Marshall escort me out of here. I asked her about how we ensure those who tested positive?
She smirked and sarcastically said, “use common sense and leave.” She took no consideration given that my leaving could result in a warrant for my arrest as a noshow.
I politely told her as I matched her eye-to-eye sneer with a request to bring two marshals back — one to make me sit down and another to pull me off anyone who touched me to force me to sit down without the ability to social distance.
I can hear Big Mama saying, “don’t come for me, unless I send for you.” (See that column on our website)
We bantered back and forth on many issues, yet she reminded me of the first reconstruction gatekeeper, those of us who look like us designed to “oversee” our systemic failures.
Big Mama was right, we had to sit and wait to arise up to bless forward.
Check back next week when you see what happened when we arrived in the courtroom to be directly selected as jurors! In the meantime, do as Big Mama say, “Bless forward with urgency and action!”
Have you been called to jury duty? Email me at the paper firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media. Reach him at email@example.com