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Regal Immersions
2/4/2015 4:41:19 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

Greetings and Happy Black "Our-Story" Month. Can you believe another calendar year has set upon us here in this country's African-American communities once again, especially if you measure a year in terms of annually celebrating the Black man and Black woman's noble experiences in this country?

Well, I can, and I'm really thinking about sharing some interesting personal views and opinions about this special time of the season with you today. I know that it's February, but you know, if you read the Chronicle regularly, that I hold on to the fact that Black "Our-Story" Month is an every month of the year absorbed love affair in my mind.

While saying that, I fondly remember that it was my late mother who started me off as a developing mentally thinking youth of color in the serious study of Black History. I had no choice in the matter because she was first, and foremost, a strict and kind disciplinarian as a parent, and secondly, she was also an aware and committed schoolteacher by her professional vocation. So, I guess you'd be correct in assuming that I was culturally directed to this most fascinating area of history. It was no-brainier, and to my mother's reasoning, all forms of academic study should be undertaken with no foolishness involved, and believe me, she meant business in that realm, especially when it came to studying Black "Our-Story."

In some strange and unexplainable norms her loving and nurturing discipline still hovers around my educationally developmental thoughts with a special feeling of warmth about learning about and collecting any and everything that I can get my hands on about Africa and her descendants worldwide. That's what Mom taught me to do as a child and, like I said previously, it consumes me now as a septuagenarian to this very day.

One of the many things my mother taught me about the study of all "colored" folk's histories, and I still remember to this day, was a term that she referred to as"Regal Immersions." Mom would say it to me with the sweetest of academic direction, because to her to know your (and others') ethnic heritage was secondary only to knowing who God was. That's what was taught in my household.

From an early age, my mother, the dedicated schoolteacher, emphasized that it was crucial for Black folk to know and teach their stories because it was"regal" to study Black "Our-Story." She would explain in depth that this process was meant for all "colored" souls so that they could have legitimate and sound dignified knowledge of themselves.

This energetic, ebony woman was herself a committed reader of things spiritual, historic and globally ethnic in nature, always dreamed of Black learning unity. She also told me that for one to truly be considered intelligent, he or she would have to be totally committed, or "immersed," into the study of one's cultural self, without hatred of the other ethnicities of the world.

The term "Regal Immersions" was one of my mother's catch words that she would use to tell me to never forget that if a "colored" soul lacked the desire to self-medicate himself or herself with factual Black knowledge, he or she would forever be doomed to be mis-educated under any and all colonized indoctrination. Think of that wisdom, if you can, and then reflect on Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Week in 1926, and his discovery of being mis-educated so beautifully described in his famous 1933 memoir.

We all know now call that that week has been expanded to an entire national month observance, which began in 1976, and its recognition is observed in the second month of the Gregorian calendar. My mother was the one who was forever steadfastly letting me know of Dr. Woodson's genius and efforts, and that studying, learning, collecting and teaching about Black "Our-Story was a year round occupation and a lifetime pursuit.

To that resolve, I've been a hooked serious Black bibliophile, teacher, exhibitor, and ethnic memorabilia collector traveling the world over in pursuit of (just) one more treasured and rare valuable "our-storical" find to add to my collection. I don't play with that preoccupation, because "Regal Immersions" is exceptionally peculiar to me and others like me, and we don't care about reminding one and all inquisitive seekers of authentic academic knowledge that African History really is world history. It's our dutiful passion.

My mother said that to me often, and she never played with telling me that any serious dream seeker of accredited knowledge has to have a deep mental involvement in studying one's authoritative history for more than a day, week or month. Being an only child meant that I had no escape from Mom's teaching methodology and parental philosophy, and because of her insight, I'm truly blessed to have this wonderful obsession to collect, teach and write about Black "Our-Story" that engulfs my present intuitive and refined cultural mind-set. I trust that if you're of color, you"ll understand a little something about the real gist of what my mother meant by " Regal Immersions." If you do, then you must pass your understanding of this on to those of us who don't read or won't collect anything remotely related to or associated with Africa, African people or Afro-American stories.

As we begin this month's celebration of our national and worldwide African culture, and that's exactly what it is, please remember that "Regal Immersions" doesn't come from (just) proclaiming that you're Black, "colored," African-American or whatever label you feel comfortable with. Being "regally"'who you are is, in essence, teaching the richness of the oftentimes denial fact that Africa is the Motherland of all "hue-manity."

In closing this article on "Regal Immersions," I'd like to share a powerful quote from one of Africa-America's late queens who died last year and her name was Dr. Maya Angelou. She said, "Your ancestors took the lash, the branding iron, humiliations and oppression because one day they believed you would come along to flesh out the dream." Is that regal enough for you. I hope that it is as you immerse yourself in this month's cultural activities, and that's, "As I See It."


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