Here I sit on this bus, just riding throughout the city, taking as much pleasure in the Sunlight as I can since it’ll be setting soon. That, and the chem trails are starting to filter out the Sun rays. Anyway, I am currently reading The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. It’s been a LONG time coming because ever since I’ve embarked on this journey of “Know Thy Self,” I’ve heard and seen this book mentioned plenty of times. I just never got around to buying it and reading it myself.
Well, that quickly changed last night.
I’ll tell you how I came to finally get this book in another entry, but the point is…as I’ve started reading the first few pages, I’ve come across a few words that I don’t know the meaning of. Luckily, I’ve brought my dictionary along (YES, I’m carrying the entire MERRIAM-WEBSTER dictionary around in my bookbag!), so as I looked up each word that stumped me, I got to thinking…
Thinking and remembering.
Back in high school…I had this one teacher. She was an African Woman. Her name was Dr. Oguneyle (I HIGHLY DOUBT I spelled that right), but everyone called her Dr. O for short since we’d all butcher the pronounciation of her name, too.
She was my English teacher, and I remember how much we all DESPISED her because of the “overwhelming” workload she’d give us pretty much every single day!
She took vocabulary lists to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL: she’d have us copy the (long-ass) list of words down from the chalkboard into our notebooks, then for homework we had to look up the definition of each word, copy down ALL the definitions under each word entry, copy down the parts of speech, copy the ETYMOLOGY of the words that were in those brackets right BEFORE the definition (we were REQUIRED to have a dictionary that included the word etymology), AND write our OWN sentences for each word!
We HATED this woman for torturing us so! We’d sit in our groups and quietly complain to one another and insult her under our breath so she couldn’t hear us…ha, ha…yeah.
She’d just DRILL these things into us–how important it is for us to have an extensive vocabulary, literacy, etc.
Well, the point is…as I sit here and look up each word I don’t know (something I’ve ALWAYS done, even as a child, though not as far as the etymology until I had Dr. O) Dr. O comes to Mind…and what I couldn’t see or understand THEN, I do NOW.
Dr. O was an African Woman, who was a teacher at a public school in the ‘hood, teaching an English course to young African students…she KNEW what was out there in the world. She KNEW we weren’t TRULY getting a proper education in these schools or in this education system.
She KNEW the setup of racism, White Supremacy, capitalism, etc. She KNEW, and so she PUSHED us. She wanted US to be the start of the young generation who’d blossom up knowing BETTER, knowing OURSELVES, knowing our MISSION…even if only through teaching us this one English course.
I didn’t see, COULDN’T see…I didn’t understand, and so I didn’t appreciate what she was doing. All I know is…I wish I could see Dr. O NOW. I wish I could contact her TODAY, because I’d tell her ALL that I feel right now. Even though she didn’t stay at my school, I would thank her ENDLESSLY for what she’s done in her teaching us, pushing us and wanting better for us, GENUINELY.
I’d tell her all about my personal journey so far, the things I’ve learned and experienced, etc…I would thank her for sparking my Natural Curiosity FURTHER and embedding in me a love for the HISTORY and ORIGINS of words. I want to thank her for being one of the people who made me open my eyes, shift my views and REALIZE the STATE of MYSELF, my PEOPLE and how education plays such a MAJOR role in it all.
Yes…every time I look up a word I don’t know, I think of my 9th grade English teacher, Dr. O.
Thank you so much, wherever you are.
PEACE and MUCH LOVE to you.