Reggie Major: A Man in All Seasons 4


 

 

rwm&dm 96dpiMy father was born February 8, 1926.  He, but not his presence, left this planet June 19, 2011. Of the many things I love and admire about my father is the fact that he was the definition of what I consider a man. His manhood was not a weapon of violence and dominion but instead stood in the way he carried himself with love and responsibility, gentleness and commitment, strength and resolve, generosity and laughter. With that in mind I thought I would put up a bit of the latest redaction around the idea of refusing to be called a boy as well as the most recent poem I wrote.  

 devorah: You been involved in struggling for a more just society since your college years. When you look at today what victories do feel you participated in, were a part of?

 Reggie: One of the victories, which is trivial, but not so trivial, that I know I was a part of was when Black men convinced white men to stop calling us boys. It’s nothing that’s talked about. But the situation was really funny. This occurred soon after I got here. (to California) The situation was that I was working on a job and some dude, a white man, called me, “Boy.”  And I go, “Is your mama a boy?” The white man got mad. “Anybody younger than me I call a boy.” But he stopped.

I began to get stories about being called “boy” from different Black men and they would respond- according to character, but they would respond. If they were a little Tomish (Uncle Tom-like) they’d go (He titters) “But I think I’m a little big to be a boy Mister, yuck, yuck, yuck.” But whatever they could tolerate as a response, they would express it. We hassled them. (white men) But we didn’t have any picket signs, we didn’t have anything.  All we had was being resolute every time the subject came up.

That’s like an unnoted passage.

That’s not insignificant.

That was my generation. So that was one victory. After that to me the biggest victor wasn’t a victory so much as it was a change of consciousness and that was the formation of the Panthers (The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense). And the Panthers for me are just a symbol. I have taken and continue to take the position that the political victories we have, the Civil Rights Act and so forth and so on came as result of united action. That is that everybody was moving.

If you would like to know more about the Journey of the Tapes. Please follow the link.

 

 Any memories of my father, or yours, please add as a comment.  I will also add any relevant photos to this post.    

And the poem:  

dream echoes

only in dreams

your voice the silence of a dark cave

your skin walnut brown wrinkled around the smiling eyes

 

your voice the silence of a dark cave

who you are is the lesson of dying stars in distant galaxies

the jar of spices- paprika, rubbed sage, garlic granules needs replenishing

 

who you are is the lesson of dying stars in distant galaxies

i am caught up in tears odd moments, feeling absence as chasm

knowing my shape twisted and sublime is constant reflection of you

 

i am caught up in tears odd moments, feeling absence as chasm

yet you still bring me the orange of nasturtiums, the sweetness of plum

it’s like when I was a child and everything was forever new

 

you still bring me the orange of nasturtiums, the sweetness of plum

your skin walnut brown wrinkled around the smiling eyes

only in dreams

devorah major


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