It’s the way it should be! My father got killed when I was three years ago, so I only know him from my grandmother, mother, aunts and uncles. They painted a great picture for me, a bigger than life picture. He was only 24 years old and died in a car accident. He had four other brothers and my mother had 4 brothers, I had a great uncle and two grandfathers.

You heard the saying it takes a village, well that village really did an amazing job. So, I say it’s the way it should be. I never missed not having a father because they were always there pouring and speaking into to me, protecting and nourishing me. They showed me care, gave me correction when necessary and kept up with all my life, through childhood, adolescence, rebellion, mistakes and adulthood.

They taught me how to persevere. Though my mother’s brothers, my Uncles James, Alexander, Willie Earl fled to New York to escape Jim Crow, segregated South for more opportunities, they came home often and always brought us something, always came by and checked on my mom. We would always gather at my mom’s or other kin. This has more of an affect on you than what you knew as a child. I knew who I was and from where I came from while others were looking for identity. Each one of them were different, but they shared who they were and what it meant to be a father. We were one of their children. On my father’s side, he had four brothers as well. They were a little more reserve than my other my mother’s brothers, but still loving, caring and nourishing as we would gather at grandmother’s house for holidays. Her house was the first house you get to on the rural country road, but everybody on that road for two miles were kinsmen, great uncles, male first, second and third cousins and 4th generation. They all nourished and protected us because our father had died and left my mother with 4 small children with my youngest brother being only 6 months old. What great influences that shaped my life and ensured my identity in a big world. I always knew my ancestry, from stepfamilies to great great grandmothers thanks to these male figures that stood in stead of my dad. I’m so grateful and appreciative.

They never spoke bitterly about racial bias or injustice, only spoke of a better life, hope and being a better person. Though I knew they experienced it quite often both in returning to the South and living in New York and around the world.These male figures did an awesome job stepping in and stepping up to be my surrogate