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Be a Stronger Story

17 Nov
African American Rosie the Riveters

African American Rosie the Riveters

Jan Garrett & JD Martin wrote a song called Tell a Stronger Story. I had the pleasure of listening to this inspiring song via a Unity podcast. It inspired me not just to Tell a Stronger Story but to Be a Stronger Story. Be a Stronger Story other than what Life’s experiences are telling or handing you. In Psalm 42 you can tell the writer is having a really rough time but he encourages himself.

Psalm 42
New King James Version (NKJV)
Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses

42 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
8 The Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Some may think that bravery in the face of fear or distress is a type of false confidence. It sounds like putting lipstick on a pig but it is a Battle scarred Warrior wearing the Full Armor of God while standing on the Battlefield in the midst of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. A Soldier fights through the pain, sorrow, disappointment, stress, pressure, discouragement and fear. Dry bones come together and become an Army for Peace.

When my Native American ancestors were displaced and driven from their lands they Became a Stronger Story. When my African ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa, enslaved, Jim Crowed, and denied basic human rights They Became a Stronger Story.

For those who cannot speak for themselves due to disability, sickness, hard times or even death for them We Have to Be a Stronger Story.

There is no fiddling while Rome burns. When everything around you is falling apart; When you’re out of balance; When people scandalize your name; Tell a Stronger Story through your chants, mantras, prayers and meditations. Tell and Be the True Stronger Story that’s inside you!!

My Story began with Habakkuk 2:2-3 back in the mid-1980s. It is now coming into fruition.

2 Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

What’s your story?
http://garrett-martin.com/strongerstory.html

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The Cruelty of “Christianity”

5 May

The Cruelty of “Christianity”

Tekahionwake

“Oh, why have your people forced on me the name of Pauline Johnson? Was not my Indian name good enough? Do you think you help us by bidding us forget our blood? By teaching us to cast off all memory of our high ideals and our glorious past? I am an Indian. My pen and my life I devote to the memory of my own people. Forget that I was Pauline Johnson, but remember always that I was Tekahionwake, the Mohawk that humbly aspired to be the saga singer of her people, the bard of the noblest folk the world has ever seen, the sad historian of her own heroic race.”

Nobody knows my name or the real me except Jesus and him alone. Some ancestors unwillingly pulled from the breast of Mother Africa the others walked the “Trail of Tears”. Both had forced upon them the indoctrination of Euro-centric Christianity to the detriment of each noble culture.

A few months ago I traced my maternal ancestry back to Mozambique. When I made that discovery something in my spirit clicked and I knew that one day I had to return to the birthplace of my Great, great, great, great, great Grandmother, her birth name lost to time and eternity. Other ancestors born in this great land have yet to be revealed. Many times I wonder, “What was my African and/or Native American name.”  The names of Finney, Halstead, Gordon, Palmer were all given by some distant slave-owner. Who were they and who were they 500 years ago?

Like Tekahionwake I live my dichotomy every day even in my spiritual life wondering about the respective faiths of my African and Native American ancestors. Thinking about how their own unique worship was torn asunder only to be replaced by a Euro-centric “Christian” god who relegated them to a lesser status, below that of their European captors.

Children of an accursed Ham? (Genesis 9:20–27) I think not for the descendents of the great Realm of Ethiopia have risen again to the rightful place in the Diaspora.

Matthew 12:42

New King James Version (NKJV)

42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

The cries of my people would not be extinguished. The voices of my Native American ancestors called to me for redemption. Through an experiment called Carlisle Indian Industrial School History, really internment in re-culturalization concentration camps Richard Henry Pratt sought to erase the cultural identity of Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho and other tribes through forcing children into complete immersion in Eurocentric culture and identity, effectively erasing their own. Take away a person’s language and belief systems, telling them that how God created them was wrong and had to be fixed only serves to create indwelling images of self-hatred within those lost children. If eradicating my indigenous and African American culture, traditions, ethnicity and exchanging them for dominant white culture will I be closer to God?  Will Jesus accept me in this new form?

As I gaze in the mirror as many Native Americans did 150 years ago neither my face nor my features as God made them can be erased. The efforts on the part of European conquerors failed. Nor were the colonizers able to erase the connection to the Great Spirit as he was known long before the white man touched our shores.

White man you tell me that only your version of Jesus can save my soul and deliver me from sin. And just what is my sin? Being born with a brown face, high cheek bones, full lips, long flowing Jet Black hair or locs that rise to kiss the sun. Does my sin lie in the dances my people perform to honor my ancestors and Mother Earth who gives us all sustenance? Am I or my ways at fault because we revere Nature as opposed to destroying the land, fouling the waters, polluting the environment in a never ending obsession to conquer, convert and control? Now who is the savage? Who is the so-called heathen?

Oh European who comes bearing the sign of the cross who is this God of yours that lifts up your customs and traditions but disparages mine? He is not the Jesus depicted in your Old Master paintings from Italy, Spain, France or the Flemish Masters. No, more than likely he was a swarthy man with kinky dark wooly hair, skin darkened by constant exposure to the sun. Jesus was someone whose looks paralleled the populations most of the indigenous tribes of Africa, North and South America.

Revelation 1:14-15

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;

We Sisters and Brothers from what you named the “Third World” now know that Jesus came for us just as we are. God accepts us in all the richness with which he created us. We Black and Brown followers have redefined and returned Christianity to its original intent and meaning.

No longer do we walk the “Trail of Tears” or the Via Dolorosa. Now we stand together arm in arm marching onward to Zion that beautiful city of God taking our place among those who have been redeemed.

 Woman Ancestor from Dad's Side

Donations to this thought provoking Ministry for the Housing Fund can be made in U.S. Funds via money order or bank checks made directly to  Paypal using my email: deborah.palmer280@gmail.com.

Thank you and God Bless.


My Maternal Ancestry Tree: The bond and bridge that enable me to crossover from America to Africa

2 Dec

Friday, December 02, 2011

My Maternal Ancestry Tree: The bond and bridge that enable me to crossover from America to Africa

Maternal Ancestry Journey

Isaiah 54:1-3

New King James Version (NKJV)

A Perpetual Covenant of Peace

1 “Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
2 “ Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.

 Mable Elizabeth Palmer

The eternal question, Who Am I? Many of us find the answer within our respective Family Trees.  It was obvious to me that my ancestry began in Africa, but where in that great continent did my ancestors originate.  But for me as an African American some of the branches were broken off and gone missing. 

Thus began my quest to not only discover my maternal lineage but my genetic link to Mother Africa.  Hidden within the larger search to trace my family history on my Mom’s side was the greater goal to honor my mother and complete myself as a branch of the family tree. DNA can now unlock the secrets and the past giving voice to generations of women, the collective matriarchy that ultimately formed me.  Living in a society that often devalues, trivializes and cuts Black Women down, within my personal family history lay the opportunity to validate and reaffirm self.

Family Skeletons Revealed

Hattie Finney Banks was my grandmother.  Hattie and Mattie Finney were twin sisters.  Mattie Finney moved to Illinois and married a man named Harper.  I always wondered what became of Mattie. My grandmother Hattie Banks never spoke of her twin sister Mattie.  I always thought that was unusual but I did not ask any questions.  Did not want to pry. 

About two years ago my brother Stephen and I spent Thanksgiving with our New Jersey cousins.  My Aunt told me a family story which might explain the split between the sisters and why they never again contacted each other.

My grandfather Hugh Banks, Hattie’s husband murdered Daniel R. Finney.  So Hugh Banks killed his in-law, his wife’s close relative. Hugh Banks died in prison sometime around 1940.  My Aunt went to the funeral.  She does not know the reason why Hugh Banks murdered Daniel Finney.  All this took place in the 1930s.  After the funeral Hattie took my Mom, Mable, her sisters and moved to Dayton, Ohio.  Hattie told everyone including my mother, her sisters and me that Hugh Banks had died in a coal mining accident. 

I suppose she had to make up a false story and hide the truth because of embarrassment, shame or just wanting to forget.  From what little my grandmother Hattie Banks told me Hugh Banks was a violent and abusive husband.  I guess when she moved to Dayton to be with her brothers Clarence & Willie she just want to forget the past and start with a clean slate.  I can’t prove it but somehow, some way this murder was probably behind Hattie and Mattie breakup.

23andme Ancestry

Good Ancestor News: Found out this week that through my maternal line my ancestors were from Mozambique. I belong to the maternal haplogroup L3e2b1a.

I also probably have some Nigerian ancestors. My maternal genetic makeup is 85% Africa, 12% Europe and 3% Asia.

Our ancestry and genealogy are traced through mitochondrial DNA which is only passed down from mother to child. This is fascinating information. By the way the study affiliated with Dr. Henry Louis Gates is free and they are targeting African Americans. I’ve wanted to have my DNA traced for several years and when I saw the ad in Ebony or was it Essence along with the word Free, I immediately signed up. I was so thrilled to find out this news. Now along with my African co-workers feel a more direct connection to the Motherland.

Naturally, I’ll never be connected to Mother Africa the way in which my co-workers from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Mali are since they were born there and have a direction connection with the culture, language and respective tribes, I feel now more of a blood tie. Now I can plan for my pilgrimage to this country of my ancestors in the next five to ten years.

I’ve shared my findings with a select group of like-minded co-workers and when I return to work on Sunday will continue to do so.

As I previously stated, Hattie Finney Banks was my maternal grandmother. I’m in the process of writing a book honoring my mother, Mable Elizabeth Palmer, Hattie’s eldest daughter. Right now I’m trying to locate the birth certificate of either Hattie or her twin sister Mattie Finney. I want and need to know who their mother, my great grandmother was. I need that piece of information for not only my research but for my literary work. I know plenty about my Dad’s family history but almost nothing about my Mom’s side. Also there is something in me which needs completion.

When I look in the mirror I see Mable Elizabeth Palmer. I see unknown people from my collective past begging me to tell their story. I must answer their cries to be heard. Before I travel to Mozambique, South Africa I’ll have to visit West Virginia and examine birth, death, prison and military/Armed Forces records that may be available.

Then in 2012 back to Ancestry.com for more research on my maternal family tree.  My maternal ancestors from Mother Africa call me and I willingly answer the call.  Our patriarchal society bows down to the greater stronger Matriarchy for only females carry the mitochondrial DNA that enable all of us to trace our roots and find our origins.  The Journey continues!!

http://www.23andme.com/

National Geographic also offers a similar test but it costs $99.95. That will have to wait until I receive my Federal income tax check next year. I want to see if genetic lineage test comes up with the same result as 23andme. I would think that for $100 the testing would be more wide-ranging and comprehensive. My goal is to find out more about my maternal lineage. My ultimate goal is to deepen my connection to my mother, grandmother and of course Mother Africa.

Donations to this Ministry can be made via Paypal using my email: deborah.palmer280@gmail.com.

Thank you and God Bless.


Mable Elizabeth Palmer

DeBorah Ann Palmer

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