Becoming Free, Becoming Black by Alejandro De La Fuente and Ariela J. Gross-Cambridge University Press coming soon!

Since my nieces pushed me out into the world of blogging and writing, I have been shocked by the eyes that read what I write. I’m not sure if I need to reread some of what I wrote, watch my videos over or something because I do not see what you see. I stay up all night trying to perfect my work to the point I silence my writing style. I drown out all that I am out of worry for professionals who only read in black and white…I often stress over grammar, and I have an educational complex because I did not attend a prestigious college. I must admit I did not see my worth until recently and being blind to my value was not limited to only my writing, but I can see, I can see now!

But during my years of vision loss, God blessed me with some very awesome friends who guided me in my darkness. My fantastic friend and mentor; a Howard journalism grad, who happens to hold a top executive chair at leading news outlet in the world. She’s kind of hard on me when it comes to all things English and communications as if she’s a high school teacher. I haven’t cried since her first editorial review lol. I only cried because she has shared years of knowledge and experience so that I can stand next to those like her and hold my head up.

So many others shared their experiences and areas of talents with me, my friends, and my followers. Thank y’all for the words of encouragement and tips. I’m reminded of a blogger, author who goes by The Old Grandpa, who contacted me when I first started blogging. We were exchanging comments about a picture he took while on vacation here in New Orleans, and from there, we became virtual friends. He gave me tips that lighten the stress and worry, but more so, he made me feel proud of my words. Since our contact, I stopped reading others writing and compared it to mines. At that moment, I fell back in love with written words again, but more so trusted what I wrote no matter if I flopped on grammar. But, I would find that most of my grammar issues were due to a lack of proofreading. After writing, I honestly do not feel like reading all those words again; it’s reminiscent of a teacher making you read a million pages for homework 😩.

It’s been amazing watching the progress as I travel on this road. I know lots of you think it comes with a nice bit of money, but I’m still building. I found in building that Name Recognition, having the trust of others and being respected is far more valuable than financial wealth. I am in the phase of my career that I get perks and paid assignments, but I’m not where you all think I am as far as money. But My Legacy is all that to me, and I’m leaving a permanent written mark!

Do you know where I am at? I am in the eyesight of representatives from Cambridge University Press!!!! I am being sought out for what I think! 😮😵🤗 I was totally floored when I realized the email from the University, and many others were valid, and they wanted me to provide a service for them!

I do not know how I went from writing in my journal to blogger to a published writer to a book reviewer, but I’m going to accept all that God sends my way! I will not allow insecurity to take this opportunity from me. But I am honored to announce to you all that the people in high places added another life roll to my resume!

One would think I would respond immediately to emails such as these, and lately I get them daily, but I oftentimes question if it’s a hoax, spam and if they have the wrong person. Wondering once again what is it do they see, asking my friends in media if there’s a list out there somewhere. As I typed to accept the review, I wrote and deleted,” How did you find me? How do you know my name?” I am so thankful that my name is out there!

I have a few more books to tell you all about and not that this one from Cambridge University Press is better than the others, it’s just… Well, y’all know they choose this Nola black girl who attended Job Corp and was told she wouldn’t and couldn’t by educated professionals that crossed my path at Charity Hospital because I was a teen mom.

I wish Charity could have a NICU reunion as they used to in the 90s so I could show those doctors everything that my daughter and I accomplished! I would tell them how I enrolled in college at 17 years old while healing from the loss of my second daughter whom they told me died because she shouldn’t have been born, but I couldn’t keep my legs closed. I never understood why they treated me so harshly and to inflict more pain on me during the last days of her life was pure evil. I lived with that guilt for years, but you know what, they do not matter. I did pretty well for myself and children if I say so myself, and the best is yet to come!

I love my new career, but more so I am happy that I’m doing works that make my family proud. There’s no need to show anyone else, as long as they are pleased with what I have become is what matters to me. I want my Mom to know in her heart that she raised me thoroughly; my teen promiscuity had nothing to do with her parenting. But turning the TV channel to The Cousteau Odyssey Show, making us read books avidly, taking us to all sorts of museums and the list goes on is why I made it. I love to read and write because of her parenting. I’ll get to that place along my journey where my name will be financially compensated.

Look for my review on Becoming Free, Black Black- Race, Freedom and the Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana by Alejandro De La Fuente and Ariela J. Gross!! And I’ll keep you all posted regarding the release date so can grab you a copy or check it out at your neighborhood library.

When did Africans become “blacks” in the Americas, and how did this vary by place and time?

Becoming Free, Becoming Black reveals how enslaved and free people of color in three major slave societies – Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana — used law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their families, despite slaveholders’ fierce and concerted efforts to also use law to bestow the rights of citizenship on white people and make blackness synonymous with bondage.  Despite similar beginnings, by the dawn of the Civil War, the social implications of blackness in each region were fundamentally different, resulting in dramatic shifts in the fortunes of free people of color across the Americas. Yet the transition from black slavery to black citizenship in all three societies was neither linear nor preordained. From black slave to black citizen, the connecting tissue before and after emancipation was not “from slave to citizen,” but from black to black.

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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