Lincoln Beach On this day in New Orleans May 25, 1939 and May 25, 2021

Founded in 1939, Lincoln Beach opened to the black public in 1941; the beach was one of the few places where black residents could find relief from the New Orleans summer heat.
Since the closure of Lincoln beach in 1963, there’s hope that Lincoln Beach will once again be a place for future generations to create memories, thanks to a group of cultural bearers who founded New Orleans for Lincoln Beach Foundation.

My Bittersweet Pickaninny Dolls: New Orleans Vintage Gambina Dolls, Ninkie, and Jody circa 1700s

The dolls reminded me of the painful memories and difficulties growing up in New Orleans with what I was told was the wrong color skin and bad short hair, the only difference was that “Ninkie” was cute and only because she was made in the 80. A lot of my feelings were rooted not in hatred for myself but for the absence of dolls that looked like me.

My Nola Life: Growing up Tall, Dark-Skinned with Nappy Hair

The issues I had with being defined as “Dark and Ugly” came from people outside our family in the beginning. I was darker one in my family and if subconsciously and if possible in the womb I knew the prettiest girls were lighter with so-called good hair and not girls who looked like me. I wouldn’t truly understand that being dark-skinned with nappy hair meant something bad and ugly until I started school. My short afro puff ponytails were mocked and ridiculed along with my chocolate-colored skin. This would be the beginning of a long journey of questioning who I was, searching for validation, depression all because I was trained to believe that the color of my skin and texture of my hair wasn’t good enough or acceptable, which in turn made me worthless to the world so I thought.

Being the tallest, darkest and nappiest girl was difficult, but it got better, much better. It was like one day I went to the mirror on the wall and she responded, “Girl, the dark-skinned, nappy-headed tall girls are IN! You made it Sista, you are now included in the most beautiful of them all!” I am a Swan now and I have been basking in my lil pond celebrating Me without splashing water on my haters. I actually let them swim with me!

Seriously though, I believe it’s because we became aware of what we were doing to each other. We realized that we fell for the hype of European beauty standards that we allowed it to divide us for years.