Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of my day off of work and hand deliver copies of my book Confessions of A Melanated Queen to friends, family, and colleagues who were interested in purchasing a copy.
I took my mother with me. We had a successful day, and as always, I enjoyed hanging out with her. As we traveled through the Chatham, Bronzeville, and Washington Park neighborhoods of Chicago, my mom reminded (as she has since I was a child) of the pride and financial freedom that existed among African Americans during the great migration period.
When Black people moved to Chicago from the south, many pulled their money together and purchased the beautiful brown and gray stone buildings that line the streets of the aforementioned historical communities. When someone traveled in from out of town, they were able to rent a room in one of those buildings from someone who looked like them. Families were able to support each other by providing shelter and housing for those in need.
Thus, the Black dollar circulated within the Black community.
The conversation was appropriate for the occasion because as we conversed, I was in the process of making book deliveries……my own personal path to ownership.
Ownership does not necessarily have to be a brick and mortar business, or residential property. It can take on any form, as long as your ownership provides supplemental income when and if no one else is willing to pay you what you are worth.
In Confessions of A Melanated Queen, I share the story about my termination from my dream job. I assumed that I would work at the college I was employed with until retirement.
That didn’t happen.
And what made the experience more traumatic was the fact that no matter how hard I worked or the amount of dedication I gave to my students and colleagues, nobody cared how I would provide for my family when they walked me out the door.
It took a few years to get over it, yet that experience taught me to never depend on one source of income and never trust any job to remain as loyal to you as you are to them.
To that end, I encourage you to think about our ancestors. Consider those ambitious, strong, and proud Black souls who left the ills and hate of the south to make a better life for themselves in cities like Chicago, Detroit, and New York.
When jobs weren’t plentiful, and they discovered that working for someone else was not enough to take care of their families, they made a way.
They owned property.
They owned stores.
They altered clothes.
They sold meals.
They built their own paths.
Let’s do the same.
Think about something that you can do that will allow you to reach and maintain financial freedom. What path can you build for youself?
Own your journey.
Dr. Lauren Meeks