Thoughts from Allie & Hoss
What's Going On? October 01 2014, 2 Comments
Lynne M. Jackson
President And Founder Of The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation
In August of 2014 a young black man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Mr. Brown was unarmed. Ferguson is about fifteen (15) miles from where I live. There are ongoing peaceful protests and candlelight vigils to honor Mr. Brown and to represent the anger and, what is believed, unjust treatment of Mr. Brown. Racial tensions have been bubbling below the surface in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for years. People who cared nothing about Mr. Brown, his family or the community took advantage by looting businesses. A sometimes over zealous police force turned Ferguson into a military state. These actions by looters and certain police tactics caused increased tension that surfaced and exploded into multiple arrests and injured police officers.
In April of 1846 a middled aged black man and slave, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet, sued for their freedom in 1846, at the St.Louis Old Courthouse, about fifteen (15)miles from where I live. Dred and Harriet lost the first trial. They were granted a second trial in the same courtroom in 1850 and twelve (12) white men determined the Scotts should be free. Their owner at the time, Mrs. Emerson did not want to lose valuable property and appealed her case to the Missouri State Supreme Court which reversed the ruling in 1852. After appealing their case to the U.S. Supreme Court the Scotts lost.
Earlier this year I spoke with, Lynne M. Jackson, President and Founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Lynne is the great great-granddaughter of Harriet and Dred Scott. That’s only three generations away from slavery. Lynne says she was very aware of the family history even as a young girl. Whether at church, family gatherings, or hanging out in her neighborhood folks knew them as “that Dred Scott family”. Pride runs deep in the family, especially the older generation and why not? A slave risking his life to become a free man? A person not considered a person but an expensive piece of property using the judicial system to seek his freedom? What would you do to be able to speak and think freely? To be able to walk along the sidewalk without having to move out of the way of a white person into the street (Though free blacks had to to that too). The very things we take so much for granted. While we know the historic details we don’t know why Mr. Scott chose to sue for his freedom when he did. Maybe he was just tired.
Lynne's father, Dr. John Alexander Madison and the great-grandson of Dred Scott, had been the keeper of knowledge and family historian. That task, by Providence, was passed on to Lynne in 2006 when she created the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Lynne is a whirlwind of energy and inspiration that draws people to her. Traveling the country speaking to historical and educational organizations; Lynne spreads the message of the foundation’s mandates; commemoration, education, and reconciliation. Reconciliation is a tough nut to crack but Lynne has worked with various organizations in the St. Louis area including the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Library. She co-hosts the annual Dred Scott Reconciliation Forum that takes place in Marshfield, MO with prominent historical families including President Harris S. Truman and Thomas Jefferson.
Right now Lynne is working on the Dred Scott Footprints Bus Tour which will take place in early November of this year.
This is what I know is true; by bringing people together who choose to listen to each other, we create knowledge and trust and lose fear and hatred of one another.
On the Front Page of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation are the words;
“Pray for the Michael Brown Family, our Law Enforcement, our Legal Community, Ferguson,
and the St.Louis Region.”
"Peace, Truth, and Justice."
"If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem."
Visit the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation website at
Part II - Fun in the Big Apple at the National Stationery Show! June 16 2013, 4 Comments
....I grabbed the wrong bag. “F—k! F—k!” I let out one sob and shed one tear because I sweated out all the water in my body. I dig in my purse, find the shuttle ticket with the phone number, and call.
"Airport Shuttle”, says a man’s voice. Me, "Hi; I picked up the wrong luggage when I got off the shuttle at Grand Central Station and somebody must have my bag.""Uh huh; hold on please”, the voice says. (Shuffling sounds)"What's your name? P-U-R-I-T? Oh; P-R-U-I-TT. Is it on your luggage? What does it look like? Size? Color? Obviously we haven’t heard anything Ms. Purit but we’ll let you know if someone calls.” “Tanks a lot”, I say.
I have plans for drinks and dinner with the design team (MSLK Graphic Design) I have been working with over the past year. I Call Sheri, one of the owners and explain what happened. She at first appears sympathetic; "April I am so sorry". Then in a “Ball Up” voice says, "There's nothing you can do about the luggage so meet us for dinner and when your bag arrives you can head back to your hotel." “Um; Ok”, I said. “I’ll check back with you in a couple of hours.” Hmm, I think. Sheri is always efficient and practical. She’s one of those people that can jog, breastfeed and blue tooth, all at the same time. And I’m still in moist clothing from bopping around the city. I have no makeup or change of clothing, and, I do not want to haul my butt to wherever dinner is, wondering when if I’ll ever see my luggage again. I take the spread off the bed and lie down. I have a vague thought of bed bugs and fall asleep.
RING! I jump up and feel spittle on my chin. My cell phone is ringing. I answer and hurray! It’s the shuttle company! They have my bag and I can pick it up where the shuttle dropped me off. For a brief moment I want to ask why can’t they bring it to me but I am guilty of taking a bag that is not my own so I won’t complain. I get myself together combing my hair and see a pillow mark on my face. I drag the bag behind me out of my hotel room.
I go out the lobby door and hail a cab. The traffic is crazy. I walk further away from the hotel and closer to the corner to increase my odds. Someone is in front of me by 50 feet trying to get a cab. A cab passes her and me and goes to the front of the hotel. I head back toward the hotel and I notice there are people in the cab paying and getting ready to come out. The cabbie waves me away. So I step back to wait. Then some guy runs up to the cabbie. The cabbie points to me, and the guy turns to look at me. I say, “Excuse me!” and the guy says, “I didn’t see you”. Jeez!
I won’t go on anymore about this just to say I got my bag back! That night I met with Sheri and Marc (the other owner) at Battery Park for a lovely dinner, al fresco. Once I had a couple of drinks and we were laughing I realized something. It wasn’t the running around all day that got me rattled, or, that Sheri was too perky for my tastes. I was scared to death about how the show was going to go.
Part III…..The Show!...next week!
Part I - Fun in the Big Apple at the National Stationery Show! June 03 2013, 8 Comments
I love New York! I love the cab drivers! I love hot dogs sold on the street corner! Now; which one of these is the correct answer? You guessed it......I love New York! Here is part I of my trip.
I decide I don't need to take no stinkin' expensive cab from the airport! Why; I'm a sophisticated traveler so I'll take the $13.00 shuttle to Manhattan and save at least twenty bucks. I pile onto the shuttle that has 4 seats left so I take one, next to a slim hispanic woman, in an attempt for extra room and comfort. My butt was still hanging off the edge of the seat a little bit but that's okay; it's cool. The rest of the seats fill up and off we go. The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round and up and down just like a roller coaster ride. The woman next to me looked at me and we started laughing. I swear we could hear the roller coaster chain pulling us up and up and then dooowwwwnnnnn for that big drop. Repeat this action 20 more times. Hey; no prob. We'll be in Manhattan soon enough.
We arrive at Grand Central Station alive and well. I get off the bus and go around to the back to get my bag. I wait my turn and I point,"that's it", to the driver. He looks exhausted and hot, just pitiful. I give him a five dollar tip and ask, "Where do I get the free shuttle to my hotel?". He can barely lift his arm and points to the empty space on the street behind the bus. Everyone's jostling me to get to their bags so I yank mine down(God it's heavy), lift up the handle and roll it back onto the sidewalk. I check my phone and how much cash I have left. I look up and absolutely everyone is gone including the driver and the bus. I wait a few minutes for the shuttle and nothing comes. I'll take a cab from here, I decide, but no one stops. I will get on the bus then. I see a stop just a block down and ask if this is headed toward 48th and 7th to someone waiting. He was very friendly and said yep but I'd probably need to transfer. The bus comes, I drag the bag on, and ask how much. The bus driver says, "blah blah pass card". I said, "Huh?". He said, "If you don't have a pass I need $2.50 in change." I start pulling out quarters from my purse and I begin to shove them in one of the slots. "Stop; not that slot this slot!" I said sorry and pulled more change out. While I was doing this I was standing and holding on with one hand with the bag balanced between my legs. Some purse crumbs came out with the change I was pushing in the right slot. The driver gave me a pass to catch the next bus. I'm sweating quite a bit but this is a New York adventure! I cross the street and walk over two blocks as instructed by the driver. I'm waiting with my pass and a guy asks me if this is the blah blah bus. I actually know that it's the MD50! He is pleased and we wait. Ten minutes later the bus arrives. It drops me off just three blocks from my hotel. I check in at the front desk. They ask with a concerned look only a young person can give you, "Are you okay?". "Yes", I say. "I tend to sweat a lot." I get my key and zip, (ok drag my ass) up to my room. It has that hotel smell of I'm not sure what. I am starving as I only had a bag of chips for breakfast and it is now 2. I remember I bought a chocolate bar and I start to unzip my big old bag and I don't see my name tag. The bag has grey on one side when it should be black. My candy bar is not there. I grabbed the wrong bag. I grabbed the wrong bag.
Part II........coming soon.
Hanging with Elmo and Minnie Mouse (Elmo's voice is much deeper in person..with a slight Brooklyn accent)
Family Interview with: Cousin Blair/Political Partying May 05 2013, 6 Comments
I had the privilege of interviewing my cousin Brenda's son Blair. His fabulous photo is on one of my birthday cards and I wanted everyone to get to know the young man behind the sunglasses.
April -Hi Blair!
Blair-Hi cousin April
April-So whose idea was it to take those photos of you similar to the ones of President Obama in Ebony Magazine from a few years ago?
Blair- My mom
Blair- She wanted to show her support for the President and his family by sending him copies of my pictures.
April-How old were you when she took the photos?
Blair- (checks with mom) I was ten.
April-How old are you now? Thirty?
Blair- I’m eleven
April- And what grade?
April- What’s your favorite subject and why?
Blair- I like writing. It’s a different mindset and you can use your imagination. I like fiction and superheroes.
April-That’s cool. Do you have a favorite superhero?
Blair-Batman’s first Robin.
April-Oh! I didn’t know that- So what do you like to do for fun?
Blair-play video games. I just bought a new one called “Injustice-Gods Among us.”
April-Is Nightwing in that one?
Blair-Yeah he is. I paid for most of it. Mom game me $9.00. It cost $68.00.
April-That’s a lot of money Blair. Where did you get all that cash?
Blair-I got straight A’s and I got money from papa (grandfather). And I had a gift card.
April- I know you play football. Are you playing now?
Blair-No that’s in the fall. I’m in a writing program and I’ll be in an architecture program at Washington University.
April- Wow Blair. You have a lot of interests. You’re very bright.
Blair- I am very bright.
April- (laughing hard!)
April- Do you think you would want to be President one day?
Blair-Maybe. It’s hard work. And so much stuff like military and so many things in the world.
April-That sounds stressful.
April-Blair, next time we get together we’ll play some games. Thanks so much sweetheart. I love you.
Blair-I love you too cousin April
Ecka & Pecka Interviewed me (April) for their Blog! April 15 2013, 0 Comments
Check out the article greeting card artists and writers of Ecka & Pecka Greeting Cards wrote on their blog about PruCheek. To return the favor I'll be interviewing them on my blog. Read about PruCheek, and, the inspiration behind Ecka & Pecka.
Family Interview with: Cousin Vernon/aka Afro bro' March 10 2013, 1 Comment
April/PruCheek Owner Chubbie/Back in the Day Chubbie/All growed up
April – Hi Chubster!
Vernon – Hey cousin!
April – So you got a chance to look at the card with your fabulous ‘fro?
Vernon – I did I did
April – Did you ever use that line “You’re as fine as wine”?
Vernon – I never used the line. It has been used on me! (Laughing)
April – Oh please! How old were you in that photo?
Vernon – I was a junior or senior in high school
April- How much work was that ‘fro?
Vernon-I had to work on that to make sure it was fluffy. Jackie (cousin) would French braid my hair on the weekend to give it some body. You know so it wouldn’t get tight. Dad would wash my hair and give it a good blow out and trim. If I did it myself I could do a plat.
April – A plat! (Braid) I have not heard that word for years. And I forget Uncle Vernon’s a barber. -What were your three favorite things at that time?
Vernon – Wow uh; girls, cars, and working after school
April – I just knew you’d say girls, cars, and girls. Where’d you work?
Vernon – I had two jobs. I worked at the Urban League. Your dad got me that job. And I worked at night from 5-11PM at a bank.
April - I know you went to Langston College. How did you decide to go there?
Vernon – I really didn’t plan on going to college. I really wasn’t thinking about what was next until I was working at the Urban League. I was a file clerk and Carl Jones was the Comptroller at the time. He encouraged me to think about college and applying at Langston. He helped with the applications because all of that stuff was so overwhelming to me. He was really why I was able to go and it changed my life. I picked my Afro out, jumped on the bus to Langston, and the rest is history.
April – I’m so proud of you. You’ve done so much Mr. Bigwig at the U.S. Treasury. What exactly is your title?
Vernon – Director of Compliance Operations for the U.S. Treasury Senior Executive Services.
April – Whew. That’s a mouthful. So Mr. Muckety muck, I have always called you Chubby but I don’t where the name originated.
Vernon -The name "Chubby" was actually given to me by Biggie. The story goes that at my birth, I weighed close to nine pounds at which time she proclaimed; "Wow this baby is chubby" and henceforth, I was known by this nickname.
April – Yes; and henceforth my butt. I’ll have to blog next about “Biggie” and who the heck that is since it’s an unknown to folks outside the family. One more thing; how is it that we were born only six days apart and yet, I’m several years older than you?
Vernon – Some things must remain mysteries!
April –Uh yeah. Thanks for your time Chub Dub! Love you!
Vernon – Love you too
New Card Collection: Family & Black History Month September 27 2012, 0 Comments
Grams (Pruitt family in front of Tennessee home)
The woman, fourth from the left, wearing the blouse with the long white sleeves is my great-grandmother. She was the sweetest person I've ever known. We called her "Grams." She would be thrilled to see how much the world has changed. And in many ways horrified. "A colored president?",she would say. "My Lord Jesus. God is good." And new styles, "Baby (trying not to laugh); why are those boys' pants falling off? Lord it looks uncomfortable."
She was a different generation (old school as they say) and said "colored" instead of negro or black. African American? She would not get that at all. "Why in the world", I could hear her say, "would we call ourselves that? We're already Americans we're just colored. White people are American too they're just white." All so simple but not so simple. Now I think about her seeing these African American greeting cards. She would say, "Sweetheart, these are pretty cards. Pretty colors. Is that your cousin Beverly? Baby who is going to buy these cards?"
Here's to Black History,(or whatever you choose to call it) not just a month in February. Here's to the people who choose to purchase these "colorful" cards. Thank you. Here's to Grams with love for teaching me it's okay to question the status quo and for seeing the humor in all things.