Being black in America is first of all being; it is
existing. The key, however, is becoming; becoming
points toward the future.
The Black Self,
Wyne, White, and Coop
AS CHILDREN, the women started their particular journey of becoming cultural and social beings during the 1940s. In this decade, their parents migrated from the South to various parts of the Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest relocating with other family members when they were either young single adults or married couples. Their parents were working men and women of various skills, talents, and education; all were seeking a better way of life.
In seeking that life, the families attempted to lay a foundation that would provide their daughters with the necessary knowledge and skills that would enable them to engage the complexities of their cultural and social worlds. Codes of conduct or rules for family, neighborhood, and community relations were highly valued. Families hoped that the knowledge gained from cultural affirmation would provide a rootedness that their daughters could draw upon to guide them into their future. Sometimes the families were successful in passing on their knowledge of the world to this next generation of daughters; however, at times their knowledge and skills were simply inadequate. Yet fathers and mothers, and often grandparents, aunts, and uncles gave to these girls what they had to give. Their families’ dreams stood side-by-side with their disappointments, love with hatred, sacrifices with selfishness, daring with insecurity, and encouragements with resentments.
Also in seeking that better life, the families desired that their great and small challenges to social injustice would stand as personal testament