Ernie Davis – First Black to Win the Heisman

It’s the last day in February and my last chance to highlight black history for black history month. I chose Ernie “The Elmira Express” Davis. He was the first black man to win the Heisman trophy. I chose Ernie because one of my favorite movies is “The Express” which highlighted his life and career. So, here’s what you need to know about Mr. Davis…

  • Ernie was an athletic prodigy.
  • He played baseball, basketball and football at Elmira Free Academy.
  • He earned high school All-American honors in basketball and football.
  • He led his basketball team to 52 consecutive victories.
  • His first love was football.
  • He was heavily recruited by some of college football’s top programs.
  • However, Jim Brown (NFL great) swayed him to attend his Alma mater.
  • He was a three-time All-American halfback.
  • He led Syracuse University to the national championship as a sophomore.
  • He won the Heisman Trophy in 1961.
  • He was the first black athlete picked in the NFL draft.
  • He never played a pro game because he died at age 23.
  • He died after contracting leukemia.
  • He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Ernie Davis was an incredible athlete, person and son and we salute him on this last day of Black History Month!

 

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Glory

Psalm 3:3 New King James Version (NKJV)

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

If you haven’t seen the movie “Selma” by now, please go check it out. It is a phenomenal film whereby you sit and watch and think that is only 50 years later and we are still fighting some of the injustices that occurred then. But, then you realize that then is now and we are living in a perpetual cycle trying to bring light to the injustices that are still affecting us as a people. Have we truly overcome?

I’m not a proponent of violence. I support equality in every way. But, I don’t want us to sit back and not think that there is still work to be done. Until everyone is treated equally, we will always have situations like Ferguson. I know some people may think, “Why do you care? You’re not like Michael Brown.” No. I am not. I’m also not Eric Garner or Renisha McBride. But, I am my my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. What affects them…affects me. We are all interconnected.

You truly saw this if you watched the Oscar’s Sunday night and saw the performance of “Glory” by John Legend and Common. It was better than hearing it at the end of “Selma”. It was a powerful song (that did win the Oscar for original best song) that gave you vivid images of things as they were and still are.

“Selma is now for every man, woman and child. Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd. They marched with the torch we gon run with it now” – Common

Note: If you can’t see the above video, please click on the title of this email to see the video of John Legend and Common performing this song on my website.

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Don’t Let Go

For those of you who may be going through it, I wanted to encourage you today. I have to tell you that I feel your pain. As I was listening to Pandora earlier this week, Kurt Carr’s “I Almost Let Go” came on and I started to cry. I was having a come to Jesus, full on testimony experience. I’ve been going through some things and I tell you when God is working on me and through me HE gets inside of my spirit and I am transformed and renewed knowing that HE knows what is going on with me. How wonderful is that?

I Almost let go
I felt like I just couldn’t take life any more
My problems had me bound
Depression weighed me down
But God held me close
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me
So I wouldn’t let go

– Kurt Carr “I Almost Let Go”

Kurt’s words above are simple yet poignant. Depression weighs you down. I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I feel like I’m still there, but you know what? This too shall pass. God’s mercy will keep you when you feel that there is no way out. When your back is against the wall and you feel like everything you touch is crumbling and you can’t see through pain, trust me that God’s got you.

I have to remind myself of this and I want to remind you to be encouraged because it could be worse. WE WILL OVERCOME. There is strength in numbers and you need to remember that we serve a faithful God. Always.

Proverbs 4:25 (MSG)

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
    avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
    ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
    and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
    leave evil in the dust.

Be blessed loves!

Emailing that Dang Death to Love Man

Okay, so here’s the deal…

You can’t treat me like I’ve stolen your puppy or run over your foot in my car. Why are you acting like I destroyed you? I told you how I felt when we last spoke and my world forever changed. Without any thought to how I feel or what I’m going through, you act like you’re hurt. Are you really going to say that you are the victim here? Do you know or even care how I feel? I told you that I needed space and time because I knew the rules of this situationship when we met. I knew. But, somehow I couldn’t stay within my lane and I caught feelings. I wasn’t trying too. I was trying to take it for what it was. Casual dating.

I told you last week that my spirit was in turmoil and that I wasn’t sleeping or eating because I knew it was time I got off this merry go round. I was a wreck this weekend and I kept breathing and saying, “I need to take this one day at a time”. One second becomes one minute which becomes one hour until I can make it through the day. I told my friends that I did the impossible and ended it with you. I told them that it hurts. They replied, “I know, but I love you and it will get easier.”

I told my family that I had fallen in love with someone who I wasn’t ready to introduce to them but we broke up. I said, “He doesn’t love me and I can’t breathe because it hurts like hell.” My sister replied for me to repeat after her “We don’t love them ho*s”. I laughed with tears in my eyes and sighed, “But, I do.” My mother told me, “Baby, I’m sorry, but I never thought I would survive your break up at 15 when you overdosed on pills and slit your wrists. Hell, I never thought you would survive it. But, you did. If you could survive that you can survive anything.” I told her, “I know I will survive. It just hurts like hell.”

Again, I wallowed in my pain and bathed in my heartache praying for peace. My plea to you to stop calling me wasn’t because I don’t want to be your friend or be in your life. It was because I don’t have the strength to stop talking to you. Because I’m weak. I want to know how you’re doing. I want to hear your voice and know that you are okay. I want to laugh about stupid stuff or whatever. It’s my problem. I know. I’m not blaming you. I just need time to get my head on straight and be able to truly be your friend without having these feelings for you. I owe it to myself to choose me first.

So, I will do what I do best and journal my pain. I wish only the best for you and know that you are in my prayers and thoughts always. Only time can heal this chasm of pain.

Death to Love

Today I wrote the final line in my obituary. I wrote with such force and finality that it scared me. My pen flourished on the paper as I wrote that I need time and space. Time and space to just figure this thing out. To get my head back on straight. To adjust to my new reality.

So many excuses for why things can’t be, but the truth is simply that I love someone who doesn’t and won’t love me. I sift through my emotions and watch my tears drip on the paper as I journal the pain. I know that it is my own issue. I don’t know how to separate fantasy from reality. The reality that love don’t live here. It never has. But, I wanted to make believe that you and me could be a we. Why?

Because it was wonderful in my fantasy. It was safe. It was nourishing and warm. It strengthened me in ways that I didn’t imagine. This fantasy allowed me to laugh at the silly things, feel safe in your arms and strong in your encouragement. We existed in this fantasy. Our hearts beating in synchronized and harmonized rhythm until…

I realized that my heart beat was the only one that could be heard. I was imagining the strong and steady beat of my soul mate. It was comforting until I wrote that damn obituary and realized that the only thing I heard was silence.

I just stood there crying because heartbreak was nothing new to me. Pain was a constant in my life. Hell I survived childhood and motherhood. Grief was something I had experienced before, but this pain was new to me. It was a cross between an ax chopping my heart in two and someone pouring battery acid on the still beating half. You get it right? It was…

Destructive. I watched the destruction of a dream. I loved and lost within a span of months. The dream to experience love in the purest and sexiest form as an adult. But, that dream was dead before I even closed my eyes. So, I wrote out my obituary and entitled it “Death to Love”.

It said:

Suddenly on February 20, 2015, I departed this earth. I died. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense. I stopped believing in love after confessing my feelings to the man I had dated for almost a year. I opened up my soul and poured out my heart and he just sat there. No words. No emotions. Just silence. After shouting out that I fearlessly and uncontrollably loved this man and needed him to be patient with me and love me beyond measure, I realized that I was alone. Alone in this boat that he told me to ride with him and just go with the damn flow. As I poured out my heart and told him that love was foreign to me and not something I share freely with men. I listened for confirmation or affirmation that it was mutual. But there was none. Only silence. No words. So, I laughed and let him go and went home and drank a glass of wine so big that Olivia Pope would have been envious. I wrote this obituary before turning into bed and realizing that sleep would be futile. That rest would not come. My heart ached something awful and I died.

Later as I lay on the cold table in the morgue and reflected on the quietness of my mind I heard the radio playing. Someone had turned on Pandora. I heard “Step Aside” by Yolanda Adams. I heard her sing, “You have to let go and let God be God”. I gasped in air as though I had never breathed before. The pain was insurmountable but a peace was settling in my spirit.

I got up off the cold table and wrapped my body in a blanket and showered. I took the hottest shower and soaped up and washed off all the troubles of this world because I knew that I would survive. Because on that love river that I traveled God had given me a life vest and my momma had taught me how to swim.

Year 2: Day 137 – A Gallon Of Tears

I needed to share this today. Incredible and encouraging, I love this.

The 365 Poetry Project: Year 3

A gallon of tears cannot be traded in
for any promise that they served a purpose.
The scars that we bear are no guarantee
that necessary surgery ever took place.

He has not condemned us to suffer.

But my God is a father who permits his kids
to forge ahead any stubborn way we choose
and all my heartache, I know,
I have brought upon myself.

But my God is, more, a father who loves his kids,
who holds my hand through every dark night.
Every gallon of tears, he dries;
every scar I bear, he heals.

And what greater offering could I give
than to let my father set the path before me,
since the path that I had chosen only ever has brought me
heartache, tears, and scars?

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Gwendolyn Brooks – Pulitzer Prize Winner

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American person to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature. She wrote many poems about being black during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Her poems were so vivid. She would write about struggling black people both men and women in a way that would capture the reader. It was in college that I learned of Gwendolyn Brooks and her brilliance when I read “The Mother”.

Her first poetry anthology, “A Street in Bronzeville”, gained the attention of literary experts in 1945. She was praised for both her poetic skill and her powerful descriptions about the black experience during the time. The Bronzeville poems were her first published collection. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. She was the first black to do so. But, it didn’t stop there because she also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Awesome right?

One of my favorite poems by Ms. Brooks is “The Mother”. I read this in college and cried. This poem is so gut wrenching that I knew at that moment that I wanted to write. To put on paper all the emotions and observations of the world I live in. Gwendolyn Brooks, like Maya Angelou, helped give me my voice and for that I am thankful.

The Mother – by Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

 

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?—
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

 

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
All.
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