Happy month of May—the “yes we can” of it all. Happy Mother’s Day to the women of my family—and yours.
In tribute, I thought I’d share this remembrance of my grandmother, Myra Carlisle Landsmark, her identical twin sister Mabel Carlisle Walters (pictured above), and their mother.
A singular woman, mother of ten, widowed young, Mary Cartey Carlisle owned land and a carriage trade inherited from her father. But, who was she; this member of a Black business class born on the Caribbean isle of St. Kitts one hundred fifty years ago?
Who am I? This ‘70s rebel who took to the streets in a rage my great-grandmother would have found not unwarranted, but thoroughly unladylike. Me, with all my picketing and protesting and letting my hair out in public unstraightened.
One by one, her children—younger generation of 1916—left their island home for the States, rebels in their own right, sacrificing everything. This much I know: her children dared come because she’d made possible their dreams. Booking passage, crossing their River Jordan, they pledged their lives to the future, to their children, to progress, to freedom, to me.
In celebration of their journey, I thought you'd enjoy knowing that the pianist heard performing the spiritual, “Balm in Gilead,” on this podcast is my grandmother’s eldest daughter—my aunt, Marjorie Landsmark DeLewis. At the time of this recording (made at home on her trusty old audiocassette recorder), she was 89. She died, still playing, just shy of her 97th birthday.
For the full story and other selected writings, order my book: Sediddy: Attitude, Gratitude and Seeing Redhere.
Home Schooling: The ABCs of Parenting Success
Not just for homeschoolers, this episode speaks to every family member and friend concerned about how we respect, honor, and armor our children in these troubling times. Guests: David and Carley Cavins (pictured here with their twin daughters) and Joyce Burges, co-founder of National Black Home Educators.
May 11: We’re Lighting the Fires of Freedom in celebration of the women (and mothers) of the Civil Rights Movement with author, Janet Dewart Bell, PhD.
May 18: When Confusion Reigned and Hatred Ruled: Author Hannibal B. Johnson on Tulsa's Greenwood community and the White riot that destroyed “Black Wall Street” (May 30-June 1, 1921).
May 25: American Sanctuary. We’re on the road to Waterloo, New York—birthplace of Memorial Day and home to “packages” (asylum seekers) forwarded to freedom aboard the Underground Railroad. Guest: Walter Gable, Seneca County Historian. Produced in cooperation with I Love New York.
The Janus Adams Show airs and streams live Saturdays at 4:00 pm ET on public radio's WJFF. For more information about our shows and guests, visit JanusAdams.com. Subscribe to the podcast on SoundCloud.
And, speaking of kids . . .
To inspire and empower your "adventurous young minds (TM)" 8 and older, check out my BackPax audios, books, and board games here. In time for Cinco De Mayo, this month's featured selection—recorded on location in Mexico City in cooperation with the Museo Nacional de Antropologia—is: Treasures of Ancient Mexico.
Emmy Award-winning journalist, author, historian, keynote speaker, Dr. Janus Adams is publisher of BackPaxKids.com and host of public radio’s
“The Janus Adams Show” and podcast.