The Black Card: Big Mama Said Every Time You Do a Good Deed You Shine the Light a Little Farther Into the Dark.…

By Terry Allen

It is written… “A tree is known by the fruit it bears; and every man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Lucille “Big Mama” Allen always told us that we will be known by our actions and heard by our words. Her closing statement always ended with, “Your gifts will show up in your good deeds, nothing else matters.” She said that good deeds do not have to be on a grand scale they just have to be from the heart.

Her advice was to do something that everyone knows has your hand in it. She always underscored that good deeds don’t happen with ease, that you may have many challenges to your good deeds. Her best advice surfaced when she said to us that we cannot strive to gain vanity recognition or to show off our successes in life. I learned from that lesson that two things in life that are worth their weight in gold and they are essential to having a good deeds existence. 1) You must have an authentic compassion to help others in need, and 2) You must ensure that your wisdom is ready to fight your own fights because people will question your agenda when you execute good deeds.

When I was charged to take 60 women off welfare and create jobs for them my good deeds were labeled self-serving and lofty. Yet I knew these women intensely and I was raised by a mother and grandmother who overcame adversity to be self-made. My passion kicked in and over time I placed 56 women in jobs or small business start-ups. Several of the women landed six-figure jobs and two of them created products that ended up in major retail stores. We sparked a Sister CEO movement.

Many of us have had to pivot because of the pandemic and the racial reckoning brought on by the 8:46 prolonged timeline of the horrible death of George Floyd. So many good deeds were sparked by these two incidents. Those deeds shined a light on the tensions and social injustices that are hundreds of years old. That light has taught me to cherish kindred relationships that are void of hidden agendas. I believe that the greatest gifts that anyone can give are words of graces, strong truth and good deeds!

Please share your good deeds with me, shine a light out of the darkness and email me at

Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media.