I was five years old when I felt the first Black Lives Matters (BLM) seeds planted in my mind. For more than a year some white kids from down the road played and I played together almost every day in each other’s yards. We walked each other half way back home. But when I turned five, it was time to go to school and we no longer played together. I lived with my family, my Mom and Dad, my little sister who was just a few months old and Auntie, who took care of my sister and me. Our home was in one of the black neighborhoods in this small town. My friends lived in the white neighborhood down the road headed out of town.
I didn’t understand what had happened, but when Auntie told me we couldn’t play with each other because they were white and I was colored, I understood enough to be upset. Not only did we never play together again, we never spoke again. My segregated world expanded from that time forward. With several black neighborhoods in my little town, I lived in the section with no schools, so I went to school across town. This was before bussing. We walked everywhere, and only children who lived out in the “country” rode school busses. We had to sit in the balcony and go through the “For Colored” door to see a movie.
I remember my Mother cutting out a cardboard in the shape of my feet to make sure she purchased the right size. We couldn’t try on shoes in the department store, nor could we try on clothes to make sure they fit. We could hold a dress in front of the body to get the idea. Is it any wonder that we had so many homemade clothes. Some weekends, Auntie cooked at the bus station café and brought home leftover fried chicken, potato salad, collards, or mac and cheese. I liked café food, but found out we could not eat in the café. We had to walk around to the back of the building and stand at a window labeled. “Colored” to order and wait for our food. With each thing that made me feel I had to go where I belonged, or had to “know my place”, I felt a BLM seed dropping in my mind. I was forming strange beliefs about myself, and building anger.
At age ten, Mom and Dad got new jobs about 250 miles north, in Dad’s hometown. They bought a new house, furnished it and came back for my little sister and me. We left Auntie in the southern house to take care of it. Mom went to summer school in Boston, where she met Martin Luther King, a doctoral student. Mom and Dad left my sister and me in Auntie’s care at the start of the summer and picked us up just before school started. We liked traveling with Mom and Dad because it was like having a picnic in the car. Mom pack a basket with all kinds of foods we liked. This was yet another BLM seed during my most impressionable period.
I learned we had to take our food with us when traveling across the state. There were no eating places on the road that served us, and it was too time-consuming to go into the towns to find folks who would welcome us. In addition, we had to take our bathroom with us. In such instances, it was a special “pot” with a lid and our own toilet paper. There were only a few black “filling stations” in the state, and the white stations that had toilet accommodations we could use were despicable. Nasty and smelly are nice words for those available. The key came with heavy objects like cinder blocks. After seeing just one of those, I was glad to use the “pot”. As for the food, I loved everything Mom packed in those baskets for us.
Fast forward to 1960, the year I graduated from high school. I lived in a college town, so of course I wanted to go to a school out of town. This was the year of the Greensboro sit-in’s that amplified the civil rights movement. I had applied to and was accepted into two private colleges, one in Greensboro and the other in Atlanta. I chose Greensboro. After enrolling in the private school in Greensboro, Dad asked, “Why didn’t you apply to the Women’s College? You are smart enough to go there. ” I had graduated Valedictorian. Anyway, Dad was talking about the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina. A few days after classes started, I knew I wanted to make a change, so I applied to WC. I received a conditional acceptance.
The condition for full acceptance was completing a course in high school geometry. Well, I completed the freshman year where I was. During that year, I participated in civil rights marches, attempting to integrate a downtown movie house. Although close, I was not arrested. Something about not enough room in the patty-wagon. While in Greensboro, I applied to the home town college for my sophomore year. I attended the state college, enrolled in courses that matched the WC catalog and completed the high school correspondence course in geometry. I passed all the coursework with flying colors.
All my college credits from both schools transferred and I was off to a good start at WC, or so I thought. I graduated with a solid “C” after flunking German I and getting a “D+) in a history course, both in the 1962 Fall Semester. I learned from people in my dorm the history professor was a Conservative Republican, “translating” that term to mean racist. That my grade was a “D” was a good thing since his reputation was to flunk black students. No real story about flunking German. I had not learned how to think in German. However, I met with a counselor to plan my next steps who encouraged me to meet my foreign language requirement with Spanish. She explained it was easier. I felt she was trying to tell me I was not smart enough for German.
I enrolled in summer school at Carolina. After passing both German I and German II, I was selected for the German I tutoring pool. The student I tutored passed with a “B+”. With a degree in Psychology, I started job hunting. Before leaving WC, I applied for the Peace Corps and received a tentative assignment in Turkey to teach kindergarten teachers how to teach that age group. Keeping my options open, applied for work in New York and was offered a social work position. Intending to return to New York, I returned home for a couple of weeks to make whatever changes necessary before moving up north. However, when I arrived home early that Friday morning to a message to call the Department of Welfare Director of my first agency.
The Director was recruiting black college graduates before being forced to comply with an upcoming federal order. The niece of the then Governor of North Carolina, she was politically active, and liked being ahead of the game. I was one of nine welfare workers for the new unit serving the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, (AFDC). I met with the Director on the Monday morning after that Friday call, was hired on the spot, to report to work two weeks later, pending my passing the Merit System test. When I returned home, I arranged for the test, aware of the score I needed for qualifying. Yes, I scored sufficiently with points to spare.
I excelled in everything I did at the agency, including my proficiency as the first black worker in the agency serving an integrated case load. I built solid programs in AFDC, the foster home care program for children, and an expert witness in child custody investigations. I took this reputation to a new level in the next agency. That is, until I applied for the open Social Services Director position. From 1992, shortly after earning my doctorate, until 1996 I was active in local politics, serving as an officer in the county and regional Democratic Party. I had made numerous friends who were in the “know”. I found out my termination was a political order to disqualify me. Over the years, I learned about the “good ole boys club” running the county behind closed doors, pulling strings of public officials. Nothing could happened without their permission.
I had a few friends in high places also, but not high enough to change this situation. But I learned from them, the “good ole boys” were not going to let a black woman direct that agency, no matter her qualifications. Even to this day, that ceiling has not shattered. The board hired a white man whose only experience in social work was the six-months internship he completed the same month I was fired. I was offering more than twenty years of excellence starting from the ground up, with more years in middle management than my service in the ranks. It made no sense. At this point, I felt driven to find a way to resolve the issue of racism.
I pondered the question from so many angles. I was asking “how do I do this” questions leading to my passion for resolving the racism problem. I started my “how-to” questions in my studies in mysticism. I was experimenting with “thought”, asking how to “do” the “concepts” I was reading about. I was listening to lectures on cassette recorders until I found out about the Law of Revision. Revision is an imaginal activity. The practice is to persist in an assumption until it “hardens into fact”. I frame assumptions with “how-to” questions, after clarifying my intentions. I have to be exactly clear on what I want to experience.
Considering issues of racism, discrimination, police brutality, disenfranchisement, and other forms of this mindset, what do I want? I know what I don’t want. However, to apply the Law of Revision, I must assume what I do want in spite of evidence my physical senses reveals and my reason contradicts. I had received a clue from the Director when she delegated my work with white clients. I felt her support when she told me, “Any clients who refuse your service, or treat you rudely will be taken off the welfare rolls.” With her support, I felt confident whenever I met with any clients, regardless of race. Clarifying, I want to feel confident. Confidence is a good feeling. Asking the question, “How confident can I feel about myself?” is a start.
Asking, “How confident can I feel about myself?” I frame an assumption, starting a conversation through the dual nature of consciousness, sometimes referred to as brain-body communication. Framing the assumption is a function of the conscious mind, using a thought to impress the subconscious mind. The subconscious reacts with its feeling and sensations in the body. With the thought, confidence, I am generating the feeling and sensation of confidence in the body. Feeling confident, I change my walk and my talk. I speak with a strong but lovely tone of voice, and I walk with my head held high, my shoulders back, and I am comfortable with myself. This differs significantly from the feeling when focused on any forms of racism.
Confidence is but one feeling I want. However, working with the thought and feeling of confidence, I am recognizing circumstances and events in the world around me in which I am feeling confident. The feeling is coming from within, because I am persisting in the assumption that I am already confident. Assuming something, I am imagining it. Now, I want you to pause for a moment to check this out. Check the device on which you are reading this blog. The device came from inside someone. In other words, before your device existed in this world, it existed in Imagination. It existed in consciousness. It was invisible until someone imagined it.
Neuroscience and mysticism teach that everything known and everything possible is within each individual in the forms of thoughts and beliefs, emotions and images you can see in the mind’s eye. They tell us imagination is the cause and everything you experience with the physical senses are the effects. Imagination is called the internal environment and the world is called the external environment, the world of effects. The sciences of quantum, neuroscience, epigenetics and neuroplasticity tell us the internal environment is a field of infinite possibilities and potentials formed of patterns of energy and information. It works like this. I imagine I am confident. Automatically, the energy of confidence organizes itself into patterns of information that become visible in the form of circumstances and events about which I feel confident.
My work is to persist in the feeling of confidence until I am sustaining confidence no matter what is going on in the world around me. The feeling of confidence is but one feeling for resolving issues of racism. Among other feelings are “belonging” , knowing I am esteemed and prized wherever I am, “accepted” for who I am, and “free” to pursue my dreams. There are more, all feel good, validating ourselves that black lives matter, that my life matters. Everyone knows my life matters, and treats me as though I matter and I am important to them. I don’t have to tell them this. Feeling prized becomes my inner nature to which everyone automatically responds.
Empowering the Black Lives Matter Movement is an inside job, starting with thoughts and beliefs of our significance in this world. Reacting to the thought of confidence, you are automatically creating the stimuli that cause you to feel the response of satisfaction you are receiving. You are automatically constructing the experiences you want because you matter.
Test it for yourself. Choose a thought that reflects the feeling you want to consistently experience, imagining this is who you are. Persist in imagining yourself mattering until you crowd out all thoughts that contradict it.