Justspeak: A Black mother weeps for America--STOP KILLING OUR BLACK SONS! Black Press Award Winning Column for 2015

February 21, 2015

Ervin D. Fowlkes Sr. in Birmingham, Alabama, USA,
on 3 May 1963, being attacked by police dogs during a civil rights prot

No Domestic Tranquility for our Black sons
They are not insurgents. They are not enemy combatants. They are not hostile enemy forces. They are not terrorists. They are our Black sons. And I beg you America to stop killing them in their own backyards, in the streets outside of nightclubs, on the phone talking to their girlfriend, and a few blocks from convenience stores from which they may or may not have stolen cigars. They do not deserve to die for such trivial incidents. Stop it.
Stop killing our Black sons.

They are the babies whom we carried in our wombs for nine months and birthed them into a world we thought was filled with hopes and dreams, and promises of a better future, and a better life.
Stop killing our Black sons. 
Original Post: Insightnews; Tuesday, 26 August 2014 15:19
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May 15, 2014
irma photocollage 2

I am blessed with my mother's skin.

People often stop me to compliment me on how soft and smooth my skin looks.
When asked how I keep it that way, I can only smile and say "good genes."

Having recently celebrated a birthday, I am increasingly aware of the aging process.
It takes its toll, ultimately, on all of us. I have a younger brother, who died too early
 – in his 50s, of complications from obesity. Another friend died in her early 60s of
breast cancer and another in his 60s of complications from diabetes and hypertension.

Others have lived a relatively long life and died in their 80s like my mom. Hers was a
quiet death with peace and grace. Her body simply started to shut down, and we had
decided beforehand to take no "measures"– no tubes, no resuscitation, no needles in
her thin arms. It was the most difficult decision to makeahead of time, but I'm glad my
siblings and I agreed upon this course of action. Mom left us gracefully, and with
dignity. The death of friends and family are all signposts and gentle reminders of our
own impending mortality. Human beings are a species with a biological time clock built in.

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Orig. Post: Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:16


Artspeak: Black Feminist Anthropology—Building an intellectual legacy one book at a time

December 12, 2013

mcclurin group-photo-copy-lg

Dr. Irma McClaurin, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Dr. Bianca Williams, Corliss D. Heath (ABD), and Dr. Rachel Watkins. (Courtesy of Dr. Irma McClaurin)

Crafting a legacy is a very delicate adventure and can be quite deliberate or unintentional. In her book, A Journey that Matters: Your Personal Living Legacy, Erline Belton reminds us of the importance of establishing a “living legacy.” According to her, “…our living legacy encompasses all of who we are; our personality, our passion, our pain, our joy, our sadness, our progress, our mistakes, our love, our hate our hopes, our dreams and much more” ( The dictionary defines legacy as an inheritance, the passing down of a gift, the bequeathing of something passed through generations. African Americans are a people who have struggled to establish legacies, to pass forward cultural gifts constrained by a past history of enslavement.

We often think of legacy as something that follows us after death. Each of us, I think, hopes that when we pass from this realm of existence into a new one that we leave something behind. But legacy building should begin while we’re still alive. Such was the vision embedded in the making of the edited volume, Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis and Poetics—to create a living intellectual legacy. Read More
Original Post: Friday, 06 December 2013 10:31, Insight News.


Chinua Achebe: The passing of a gentle literary giant and a friend

April 16, 2013

  Chinua Achebe, NYT

On March 22, 2013, Chinua Achebe, one of the world's foremost African writers, joined his ancestors. He died at the age of 82. My mourning the loss of this literary giant is not just the right thing to do, it's personal!

I had the distinct pleasure of being taught and mentored by this writer of novels, short stories, critical essays and poetry. Chinua used numerous forms to carry his message of the impact of colonialism on Africa: the novel, short stories, creative non-fiction, poetry and teaching.
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Original Post: 11 April 2013, Insight News

"Race" and the persistence of health disparities: How far have we come?

April 5, 2013

McClaurin with Shirlynn LaChapelle, MNBNA President  
  MNBNA Website

This is an excerpt of a speech delivered at the first annual "Springing Towards Health Gala" of the Minnesota Black Nurses Association on March 9, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis North, Brooklyn Center.

In 2000, I was part of an historic panel organized by the Congressional Black Caucus on Black Health. At the time, I was a Diplomacy Fellow at USAID just returning from a trip to South Africa. During that trip, one particular agency predicted the number of deaths that would be attributed to HIV-AIDS, and the thousands of Black South African children who would be left orphaned as a result.

 McClaurin  with Vusumuzi (L) & Nothando Zulu  of Black Storytelling Alliance at MN Black Nursing Gala
The numbers were staggering, and I felt tremendous empathy for South Africans, especially Black South Africans, who were the most affected. Little did I know that we would be facing our own HIV-AIDS epidemic in the United States; one that would disproportionately impact African Americans and Latinos, especially African American and Latino heterosexual women who have the fastest growing rate of contracting HIV-AIDs today. We were also celebrating the establishment of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. 
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 McClaurin with her sister, Reece Bell
Original Post 21 March, 2013, Insight News


Technology: the New Frontier of Inequality or the New American Promise?

April 5, 2013
Two score and ten years ago, a prophet named Dr. Martin Luther King stood before thousands of people—poor people, rich people, Black people, White people, people of different cultures,  gay people, straight people, but mostly hopeful people—He stood before all of them at the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital. This prophet, this “drum major for peace,” this “drum major for justice”, this “drum major for righteousness” as he sometimes referred to himself.
 He presented America  a vision of hope.  He gave us a dream on that fateful day in 1963; he gave us a dream in which he articulated his belief in a racial equality and social justice. In his own words:
“ I have a dream.  It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
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Original Post: 21 January 2013, The Skanner 


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