Independence Day Curriculum

The picture above has my brother Ryan to the left, my cousin Ricky at the bottom left, my cousin James (Ricky’s brother) at the back middle, and my cousin Steve (G Smooth) at the right. In the center, I am there cracking a grin. Most likely, one of my aunt’s, either Mildred, Denise, or Mary is telling us to cheese. But look at Ricky and Steve they are drawn to another persons camera. Their eyes, posture, and mannerisms tells the reader of this picture they are very much ready to take the picture.

Many folks tell us pictures tell a thousand words. On this Independence Day, the picture above, of my brothers and cousins tell a million words. The picture tells a story of the plight of America for its own independence from the tyrant policies of Great Britain. Even more, this picture tells the story of freedom, liberty, justice, democracy, and love. My own personal infatuation with freedom, liberty, justice, democracy, and love started in this place. Maybe it’s not a place, as much as it is a location. Possibly, it may not be a location as much as it is a space in time to lock away memories of what America was built on.

The radical promise of a free nation, one which prides itself on allowing women and men to work towards a radical dream of democracy. I had that. I have that. My picture exemplifies the curriculum of independence, one we can turn back to for memories and also turn to the future for to craft dreams. But I am also realistic about the American Dream in this picture being sacred, being genius, and being problematic. Simply, the love story our great nation has had with the Black American body is one that must be told and retold.

On this Independence Day, I am reminded of the Black American love story, and the American love story. Blessed many times by the grace of God, our nation resembling a salad bowl with its precious elements of goodness has a promise to the world to fulfill. Let us celebrate this day with love, liberty, justice, and democracy for all!

~Johnnie

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