How do I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day when you are not in a good space? There’s a way with a little help from my friends

My other Moms — the Omaha group include (clockwise) Mrs. Patten, Mrs. McGruder and Mrs. Bryant. Mrs. Bryant just left us to join her husband and all the other great ancestors. Thank you for allowing me to stand tall and upon your shourlders. I love you-all.

I have friends and family members whose mothers have joined the ancestors. I honor them on this day.

My dear friends and family members who never gave physical birth to children are also honored by me as they “mother” so many.

Happy Mother’s Day to my family and friends who bid farewell (for now) to their spouses and children. Those memories are honored by me.

There are also special almost-Moms, Dads who are the unsung Mothers-in-the-gap, foster Moms and step Moms who I especially honor.

Finally, I have family and friends who do not always receive in-person, voice-to-voice “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings from family and friends. They barely receive greeting cards from them. I honor them for rembering the reasons why they are lovingly called Mom, Mama, Mommy, Big Mama, GMa, Mimi.

How do I wish any of the aforementioned groups “Happy Mother’s Day” and have them feel loved? I still say and write the words to them.

Yet, there are some authors — my friends — who have penned beautiful words that offer hope, comfort, care, love, space for grieving and more.

Try one of Rahman’s poems, or any of Rev. Jennifer’s self-care tips, or Oprah’s and Dr. Perry’s truths about trauma.

Consider what Oprah and I often say and do: ‘Connect the dots’ on this Mother’s Day. Here’s my gentle advice:

Author Rahman Johnson is a PhD. student, college professor, journalist, businessman, model and more. I love the poems about his mother and family.
Jennifer Eichelberger is a wonderful soul who is a minister, musician, author, broadcast journalist and administrator.
Oprah and I were working journalists at the same time in different markets. She honored my presidency of the Atlanta Assocaition of Black Journalists by being the fundraising “reason. ” We raised the highest amount money for our student scholarship. She was on her way to unseating a popular TV talk show host and begin her outstanding career. She also hired some of my former students as interns.

Juneteenth is coming! Check out this listing of two great activities

PORTSMOUTH — The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will commemorate Juneteenth 2021 on June 17, 18 and 19 with the theme “Found Lineage: Celebrating African American Roots and Branches.” The current debate around race is coinciding with a technological phenomenon: the extraordinary growth of DNA testing, along with the meaning of these results on concepts of lineage and race. The ease of access to this scientific testing has led people on a journey to delve deeper into their roots and to fill out the branches of their family tree.

While the research has brought some remarkable stories of reconciliation to the public, the data collected through our genes has demonstrated the brutality of America’s history.  A recent study shows that, while the majority of enslaved people brought to the Americas were male, enslaved women had a disproportionate impact on the gene pool of their descendants. There is much evidence of the systematic rape and sexual exploitation of enslaved Black women.

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Juneteenth celebration's theme will be "Found Lineage: Celebrating African American Roots & Branches."

With a focus on African American genealogy and research, this year’s Juneteenth celebration offers a series of programs that examine the connection between the emerging knowledge of our DNA and the historical events in the Black community.  

Juneteenth is the oldest known nationally celebrated event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that, as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” However, it was not until June 19, 1865, two years later, when the U.S. Army took possession of Galveston Island in Texas and began a war against defenders of slavery, that the enslaved people in Galveston could begin their journey toward freedom.

Eastern Bank, ReVision Energy, People’s Bank, the University of New Hampshire, The Music Hall, McLane Middleton and Centrus Digital are generous sponsors for this year’s celebration.

The Juneteenth schedule of events includes a virtual workshop “Finding Our Roots: Researching Black History and Genealogy on Thursday, June 17; a live concert “Feeling Good: N’Kenge Celebrates African American Sopranos” at The Music Hall in Portsmouth on Friday, June 18; a free virtual panel discussion, “In Art of the Story: Exploring How SNA Powers a Changing Narrative on Saturday, June 19 ay 10 a.m. following by a livestreamed performance “Dance of the Ancestors: Ritual, Chants, Drumming and Movement” from the Portsmouth African Burying Ground at 3 p.m.


We Encourage All Attendees to Wear a Mask and Maintain Social Distancing per CDC Guidelines!

This is an Outdoor and Indoor Celebration.

The Tri-State Expo and  Dothan Civic Center Have Taken Extraordinary Precaution to Ensure Public Safety.Special Junteenth Hotel Rate

What is Juneteenth…

Two years after Abraham Lincoln declared the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation  (January 1,1863) African Americans in Texas were still in slavery. It was not until June 19,1865, that African Americans in Texas finally learned that slavery had been abolished …they began to celebrate with prayer, song, dance, and feasting.

General Admission balcony seats are on sale now $25! 

Floor seats are on sale now  $35! 

Purchasing a ticket will give you access in and out the Dothan Civic Center all day during the Juneteenth Celebration. You will sample cuisines from three amazing chefs from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. As well as access balcony or floor seats to enjoy the stage Play, “From His Prison Bed to Yours” at 6:00PM

Come and ENJOY!

OutDoor Celebration

All Outdoor Events Are Free to the General Public!


Parade on Main Street in Dothan, AL

To Participate in Dothan’s Historic

 Juneteenth Parade

Register Here

Marching band drummers perform in school

Other Free Outdoor Events

Outdoor vendors

Kids Zone 

Live Music

Live Dance Performance and much more


juneteenth outdoor fashion show

Fall/winter collection at

poplar head park


General Admission balcony seats are on sale now $25! 

Floor seats are on sale now  $35! 

Purchasing a ticket will give you access in and out the Dothan Civic Center all day during the Juneteenth Celebration. You will sample cuisines from three amazing chefs from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. As well as access balcony or floor seats to enjoy the stage Play, “From His Prison Bed to Yours” at 6:00PM

Come and ENJOY!

Historical, captivating pictures from HBCU life

In honor of the numerous Spring 2021 commencements where thousands of HBCU students were honored with bachelor’s to doctorate to JD degrees, here’s a look back via the National Archives wonderful collection.

Here are just a few of the captures:

From Atlanta University …
From Tuskegee University …
From Dillard University …
From Talladega College …

Pt. 2 Honoring HBCU college graduates

You are special. Black college graduates are especially important during times of pandemics and in the post-pandemic era.

There is a major push to help prepare our students of today for employment and careers of “tomorrow.” Tomorrow has arrived. Are we ready? Let’s ensure our legacy and that we are able to capture experiences for generations to come.

The following pictorial are of HBCU grads who are advancing in their career fields. If you can identify them (or if it is you), connect and tag the person and HBCU.

Hint: This Orlando native is living on the west coast. Living and working in his best life!
Hint: The glorious lady in the green gown made her heavenly transition last year. She is my Soror and the lady she is helping has also moved on to become our ancestor. Her name is Maya Angelou. Now name the tall lady and her undergraduate university.
Hint: She is a lady claimed now with our ancestors. She attended my sister institution in the Atlanta University Center, and remains my Soror-in the chapter beyond.
Hint: She is an actor, director and producer. Last year, she married a fabulous man.
Hint: He was a metro Atlanta All-Star football standout. He played football at a university and is now a proud grad with a great job ahead of him.
Hint: He is the pastor of a large and productive Atlanta-based church that regularly features a celebrity minister who …”Save My Life” shows are popular.
Hint: A superb photographer who is a member of the Divine Nine. Florida native.
Hint: These ladies are graduates of the same Florida university. Both love broadcast journalism.
Hint: We both were layered up for the “hawk” in the Windy City, yet we were classmates in a much warmer climate.
Hint: He is a TV reporter in a large market. He was once-upon-a-time, an anchor for his alma mater’s TV station and started his work in the same small market as big-time sports broadcaster Pam Oliver.
Hint: The president of this Nebraska Alpha Eta Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was “made” at my alma mater.
Hint: My “brother” in the chapter beyond is in the center of this great photo with his Morris Brown College chapter brothers
Hint: Which schools did my nephews graduate from … the schools are not making up the backdrop of this photo
Hint: Hardest one perhaps. I was the advisor to the later group of these young ladies while I was dean of a certain Southern university’s School.

Enjoy and interact!

Honoring 2021 HBCU college graduates — Pre- and during Coronovirus Pandemic

Florida Sen. Bobby Powell (D-30) Minority Leader Pro Tempore, a Florida A&M University alumni acknowledging his fellow Rattlers at a pre-COVID-19 pandemic Homecoming event. He was his alma mater’s 2021 MLK Day Convocation speaker.


Our ancestor, the geat Cicely Tyson, captured the best advice for the COVID-19 HBCU college grads to continue to lean forward and press on: You can do all things granted by the great Spirit.


Black folk are attaining college bachelor’s degrees at an increasing rate, according to Pew researchers .


… Yet, it was just 3 – 4 generations ago, that our black, enslaved and post-slavery ancestors were not allowed to read or write. It was illegal for slaves to be literate.

Why? It was a “security” and “insurance” issue for slave holders. I hope our newest college graduates understand that their education is considered the same in the society that once endorsed slavery.

In the early 1900s, our ancestors cherished education, no matter the conditions.


Celebrate. No whining. Work smart. Move forward.

In summary, that has been my message for decades as I have had a strong hand in fully educating thousands of students, primarily African American students on five college and university campuses.

Ada Foster, mother of cousin Florida Fisher Parker (widow of Cousin Ret. Col. Herbert Parker) was a rarity as a college graduate in the early 1900s.


The Best Inspirational Quotes for Graduates of Color

 Best Inspirational Quotes for Graduates

 Best Inspirational Quotes for Graduates

 Best Inspirational Quotes for Graduates

 Best Inspirational Quotes for Graduates

 Best Inspirational Quotes for Graduates

Create your history. Be real and effective, Class of 2021.

Turning the page on access to historic newspapers to trace black ancestory

Free. Public. Accessible.

Free and public access to historic newspapers reporting about African Americans during those challenging reseach years — 1880 to the 1920s and beyond — is available thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

How to accomplish your new searches? It is straightforward:

  1. Go to and type in “African Americans” or “Black genealogy” or something similar in the search bar.
  2. Further sort your search about loved ones or general history.
Time to get started with black ancestry research through the free offferings.
Photo by Christina Morillo on

Happy birthday to my (late) grandmother — born in the year of the last pandemic

On April 16, 1918, my grandmother, Helen Mary Wilks, was born in Springfield, Mo.

Today, on what would have been her 103rd birthday, I celebrate the lady who inspired me to travel the world (she traveled to Asia, Canada, Central America and more), appreciate the arts as a patron and actor, seamstress, could type faster than just about anyone I know, use “both sides of my brain” and never waste a crisis.

I learned much, much later that Mama Helen was a “Hidden Figure” in reference to the popular revelation of black women being human “brains” on the campus of NASA prior to and during the historic space flights. Mama Helen was such at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. It is the home to the nation’s underground city for U.S. presidents such as George Bush, Jr., who utilized it during the 9/11 attacks.

Mama Helen had style, beauty, grace, charm and intellect. What a role model, this mother of six children, grandmother of 18 and lots of great-great and great-great-great grandchildren. Her only brother was a popular dancer and he lost his life during the TB outbreak.

Happy birthday with the angels, Mama Helen!

Second from the left, Mama Helen is next to her daughter (my Mom), Angeline, to her left. To her right is Mama Helen’s mother, Edna Robinson and next to Grandma Robinson, is my oldest sister, Denise Michelle Wead Rawles. Photo was taken somewhere about 1973 in Omaha, Nebraska. Photographer unknown.
With husband, Eugene Gipson Owen, Jr., Mama Helen and Grandpa Owen are holding their firstborn and my 1-year-old mother, Angeline Cecil Owen in 1938.