Posts Tagged ‘civil rights movement’

  • LOVE IMAGINED: Fourth of July, Another View, Independence for Some

    Date: 2012.07.04 | Category: LOVE IMAGINED | Response: 1

    LOVE IMAGINED:  Declaration of Independence

    Frederick Douglass said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” And he asked them, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?” It wasn’t until 2009 the senate passed a resolution apologizing for slavery! – for the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_United_States#The_end_of_slavery

    I live a history of injustice; I live it in my bones and in my heart.  I often wonder why it haunts me; but I know.  Injustice upon my great-grandparents, my grandparents, and my mother gave cause to secrets, and lies and children not even knowing their family names-my grandfather had to change his name, the name of his white father, in order to escape the south searching for freedom.  And, who was his Negro mother?  I will never know.

    The construct of race has always been a problem for me.  Why?  Sometimes I just don’t know.  Other times I’m very clear about why.  It has affected my siblings differently, but I believe we all hold the secrets and lies in our bodies.  My uncle said once he was so tired of having stomach upsets, he eventually just passed for white.

    I want love.  I imagine love.  But the construct of race has almost always been a problem in my relationships.  Some refuse to see it.  Some are too naïve.  Some just lazy.  Some figure it has nothing to do with them.  I refuse to hide.  I refuse to forget my history.

    But, I also refuse to give up on love.  Without love there is nothing.  Without love there will never be world peace.

     

    Sherry Quan Lee

    July 4, 2012

     

  • 1948: Civil Rights and the Democratic National Convention

    Date: 2012.06.18 | Category: LOVE IMAGINED | Response: 0

    I was born in 1948.

    Even before the day I was born my life had been affected by what was and wasn’t going on in America regarding civil rights.  I was well into my thirties before I, a Chinese Black girl who once-upon-a-time passed for white, was acutely aware of America’s dirty laundry. Mother protected me well.

    In 1948 at the Democratic National Convention members of certain southern states walked out (which later led to the formation of the States’ Rights Party) when “liberal democrats won by a close vote” (according to Allie Shay, July 2011, Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement.

    Proudly, from my home state (smithonianmag.com):

    Hubert Humphrey, mayor of Minneapolis and a candidate for Senate, delivered the liberal argument in an intensely emotional speech: “The time is now arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.

    I am learning much that is difficult, and emotional-yet necessary-as I continue my research while writing Love Imagined, hoping to make sense of an identity that Mother felt necessary to hide.

     

    Click on READING RECOMMENDATIONS under PAGES for a list of some of the books that have helped me along the way.  Please feel free to recommend books that have been meaningful to you in your search for identity.

    Sherry Quan Lee

    June 18, 2012

  • Loving v. Virginia

    Date: 2012.06.14 | Category: LOVE IMAGINED, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    1967

    one year after I graduated from high school. I was lookin’ for love in a frenzy.  I think it was this desire to be loved that began my aha moments of knowing I was a Chinese Black Woman passing for White, and even though there were boys who liked me, their parents, for the most part, didn’t.  Why?  As one ex-husband explained, my parents don’t want mixed-race grandchildren!

    Thanks to a Facebook friend, I learned about the movie documenting the Loving v. Virginia   story.  I knew the story, but I had never connected the story to my memoir.  16 states, in 1967, still had anti-miscegnation laws!

    Historical facts are missing from my unfinished memoir.  Love Imagined needs to clearly focus beyond a personal narrative into a political one.  The personal is political, but the memoirist should show the reader the connection and her understanding of it.

    High School 1966

  • LOVE IMAGINED memoir in progress

    Date: 2012.05.26 | Category: LOVE IMAGINED, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    LOVE IMAGINED:  memoir of a Chinese Black Girl Passing for White in South Scandinavian Minneapolis

    When we talk about the witness in our verse,
    we talk about you.
    A pure heart and a noble demeanor
    cannot compete with your radiant face.
    They will ask you
    what you have produced.
    Say to them,
    except for Love,
    what else can a Lover produce?

    Shahram Shiva’s book
    Hush Don’t Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi
    (Jain Publishing)

    I have been writing LOVE IMAGINED for four or five years now or maybe a lifetime.  I thought it was a book of love poems, poems that took love beyond a cliché and extended it into a global more meaningful perspective.  Alas, I failed to write more than a few poems, lousy ones at that.  However, at some juncture, a meeting of crisis and determination, I realized the “witness in [my] verse” can only be what it is and it is what it has always been the story of a Black Chinese Girl Passing for White in South Scandinavian Minneapolis in the sixties!

    However, writing prose instead of poetry has given me space to be more specific, my experience and understanding of it less metaphorical and more boldly outright.  Yes, I think that’s possible.

    A few things happened recently that have challenged me to post the process and the progress of writing LOVE IMAGINED.  One, an emotional outburst led me to sharing the draft of my  memoir to select friends, most who read the very rough draft and encouraged me to keep writing (indeed, my publisher hired an editor and said write the book).  Two, I missed a workshop on “blogging” sponsored by Springboard for the Arts.  The instructor allowed me to make up the class one on one.   I said I didn’t know what to write about, did I need to have a theme, or what?  He suggested a scrapbook type of blog, one which shared the process of writing the book that I was researching and writing.  Aha!  Third push-I was asked to join two other Modern History Press writers to read at Homewood Studio Studio in North Minneapolis.  Preparing for the reading led me to re-member my connections to North Minneapolis which led me to my aunt-her writing, and her stories that are deeply connected to my story!

    Although LOVE IMAGINED has been in progress as a prose memoir since August 2011 (it gave me something to do after having been laid off from an almost ten year job-almost the key word here and the difference between healthcare until I am eligible for Medicare AND having to go without healthcare for five or six months) I will start where I am in the process just to get started.  This will be one of the longer posts as way of introduction, but just so you know I will try to remain less wordy.

    Where the book is now.  Although I’ve been told to just keep writing, I felt I didn’t have anything else to say. I felt I had written all of the stories that I know that are important to LOVE IMAGINED.  So today, instead of continuing to do nothing because stories weren’t revealing themselves to me and I wanted to move forward, I decided to divide the manuscript into sections, sections that I gave titles to, titles that will now, hopefully, help me see what is missing, what more I should write or what I need to delete whether because it’s not relevant or I’ve said it too many times.

    Here are the categories:

    LOVE IMAGINED:   memoir of a Chinese Black Girl Passing for White in South Scandinavian Minneapolis

    Table of Contents

    FAIRY TALE PRINCESS LIVING IN SOUTH SCANDINAVIAN MINNEAPOLIS

    LOOKING FOR LOVE UNDER THE SHEETS

    THE PRINCESS LEARNS ABOUT CAPITALISM, SEXISM, RACISM and HYPOCRISY

    AN EXTRAORDINARY POST SECONDARY EDUCATION or “because she was a nigger”

    FROM THE DAY I WAS BORN:  ONCE A PRINCESS ALWAYS A PRINCESS/HOW TO LOOK LIKE THE PRINCESS YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE

    HER BODY BOUND WITH JIM CROW, KKK, and RACE RIOTS-IT’S ALL ABOUT IMAGE

    SHAME FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION FROM MOTHER TO DAUGHTER

    A HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS AND A TWO CAR GARAGE HALLELUJA PRAISE THE LORD

    GREAT GRANDMOTHER WAS A SLAVE COURTED BY THE PLANTATION OWNER’S SON

    SHE KISSED TOO MANY FROGS NONE OF THEM PRINCES

    BINGING: DRINKING, GAMBLING, SHOPPPING, EATING

    IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK IT CAN’T BE A FROG

    THE PRINCESS GOES A-TENTING AND THEN THERE WERE WORMS

    HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS AND THE MORTGAGE IS CHEAP

    LOVE IMAGINED

    I DIDN’T LEAVE YOUR MOTHER SHE KICKED ME OUT

    FATHER’S RACE CHINESE MOTHER’S RACE NEGRO

    A LITTLE MIXED UP

    LOVE SEES NO COLOR/YOU BETCHA IT DOES

    I believe titles are so important. Not only to engage readers, but to move the story forward, to show there is a story!  For now, these titles are just place markers helping me, the writer, to organize a book that is now merely a long long stream of consciousness.  These titles, for now, are my map to where I’ve been and where I’m going (reference BLACK GIRL IN PARIS by Shay Youngblood) .

    But what about the overall theme?  I think the theme has to do with how the historical events of the fifties and sixties, events I wasn’t much aware of, affected who I am.   Although I had learned that identity is complex and the intersections of class, race, gender, age, and ability all contribute to one’s identity, it is only recently that the lightbulb went on and  knew what was missing:  history!  How to integrate history into my story? How to connect all the events of the fifties and sixties to who I am?  Did I really not know about the Civil Rights Movement as it was happening?

    I welcome comments regarding process or theme, anything to help me finish LOVE IMAGINED.    How do I understand any relevant connections between the Civil Rights Movement, The Viet Nam War,  the Hippie Movement, etc. and me?

    WOODSTOCK Country Joe’s Anti Vietnam War Song

    March on Washinton August 28, 1963

    Copyright Sherry Quan Lee May 26, 2012

     

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.

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SEPTUAGENARIAN

Septuagenarian by Sherry Quan Lee

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

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How Dare We! Write by Sherry Quan Lee

How Dare We! Write

by Sherry Quan Lee

Giveaway ends June 09, 2021.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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LOVE IMAGINED

Love Imagined book by Sherry Quan Lee

CHINESE BLACKBIRD

Chinese Blackbird Book by Sherry Quan Lee

HOW TO WRITE A SUICIDE NOTE

How to Write a Suicide Note by Sherry Quan Lee

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