CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

FEBRUARY - BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A RAINBOW IN HER CLOUDS

Maya Angelou is the most inspirational writer that ever lived, in my humble opinion.  She lived through horrific circumstances early in life, yet she rose above it all – and more to the point, she wrote the survival manual for the rest of us!

The first volume in Dr. Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a poignant and poetic account of the author’s life until age 17.  The title was chosen for the caged-bird image that Lawrence Dunbar used in his poem “Sympathy”.  The book honestly reveals the cruelty, indignity and injustice that confined African-Americans in the 1930’s & 1940’s…  the cage… but also celebrates black people’s spirit, humor and courage.  I recommend you read this book if you are in an abusive relationship or know one who is.  There are some upsetting personal incidents, including rape, racial prejudice and stories of urban life, so may be too disturbing for preteens.  Dr. Angelou also wrote the screenplay for the 1999 movie adaptation of the book.

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Do you believe that Barak Obama is the first African-American President?  I disagree…

Abilene, Kansas is about 90 minutes from Wichita.  From the time I was a child I’ve visited the amazing Eisenhower museum and library.  The grounds are so beautiful and there’s a serenity there that I can’t really explain.  It’s particularly beautiful in the spring and summer months – so quiet except for the birds chirping in the trees – such a lovely place to meditate and think about the past and the future of America.lib-eisenhower-lHow much do you know about Dwight David Eisenhower?  He was a general and then became President of the U.S. in 1953 and served until 1961.  I’ll bet there’s something you did not know.  Did you know that his mother was bi-racial?  Yep.  When I hear people say that we have the first African-American President in Barak Obama, it makes me cringe.  People don’t study history anymore apparently because that’s simply not true.  We’re still waiting for the first African-American President.  Could it be Dr. Ben Carson?  Hmm…  time will tell.eisenhower-FB-mulattoEisenhower’s mother, Ida Stover Eisenhower was a mulatto.

Born in Mount Sidney, Virginia, her original name was Elizabeth Juda according to baptismal records.  She was the only daughter of Elizabeth Ida Judah Link and Simon P. Stover.  Her mother died when she was five years old.  Her maternal grandparents, William Link and Esther Black Link took her in.  William died in 1879 and her maternal uncle and aunt, William J. Link and Susan Cook Link raised her at their farm.

They did not believe girls should be educated, but encouraged her instead to memorize the Bible.  She ran away when she learned she could not enroll in high school.  When she turned twenty-one, she joined two of her brothers Stover who had moved to Kansas.

Stover graduated from high school at age 19 and taught for two years before entering Lane University, where she met her future husband, David Jacob Eisenhower, of German and Swiss ancestry.  The two were married on September 23, 1885 in Lecompton, Kansas on the campus of their alma mater.  The family was always poor, even though David was a college-educated engineer.

In the 1890’s, Eisenhower left the River Brethren Christian group, and joined the International Bible Students, which would evolve into what is now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall for the Bible Students from 1896-1915 but her sons never joined the movement.

When their son, Dwight, decided to attend West Point it saddened his mother.  She felt that warfare was “rather wicked,” but she didn’t overrule him.

In 1945, Eisenhower was named Kansas Mother of the Year.

“Many such persons of her faith, selflessness, and boundless consideration of others have been called saintly. She was that—but above all she was a worker, an administrator, a teacher and guide, a truly wonderful woman.”  – Dwight D. Eisenhower

ida-stover-mulattoIt’s entirely possible that Eisenhower was not the first President with African-American roots.  In years past these things were not necessarily made part of public record.

The Eisenhower’s had six children – and what if they had not???  We would not have had such a good 34th President of the United States, right???  I LIKE IKE!!!  🙂

 

 

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