Why is Black so powerful? Because it endures hardship and can thrive when placed in rich, nourishing soil to grow freely. Author Ruby Berkley Goodwin has written a wonderful book of stories not only about the black community, but also European immigrants finding a place alongside working blacks in America.
The connected stories make for a wonderful and enlightening look at the black family values that have been passed down through generations to this early twentieth century family of Braxton Berkley, the author's proud and powerful father. The blessing of having the racially tolerant small mining town of DuQuoin, Illinois as their home gives the place a sense of protection and security from the racially prejudiced world outside DuQuoin. The racially mixed town of miners were more skeptical toward non-miners than they were toward any foreigner or race.
So much of Ruby's story carries what I believe are the roots of many an African-Americans' family history today, myself included. I found so many of the folktales, characters, sayings and situations as things and people I'd either heard of or actually experienced while growing up in a black community in the north populated with black families with roots in the south.
This book is a reminder to everyone that black communities full of good black men have existed before, during and after slavery and continue to exist till this day. It has survived terrorism, urban relocations, crime and drug infestations that a people of lesser strength (physical, spiritual & psychological) might perish from. And as long as black people know it is a privilege and not a pity to be born black, they'll continue to be the wise, loving and forgiving people showing others that with God all is possible.
I hope to give a copy of this book as a gift to my aunt. She remembers!
Interesting the author had an acting career playing mostly maids. Here's a very telling article I found from the 1953 Jet magazine publication:
Week of April 16, 1953
Mrs. Ruby Goodwin, former secretary to the late Hattie McDaniel and actress Ethel Waters, has written a book based on the life of her miner father in the southern Illinois coal fields. A Los Angeles housewife and mother of five, Mrs. Goodwin tentatively named her book "It's Fun To Be Black," but Doubleday and company, her publishers, said the title was "too undignified." They may change it to "I Looked Over Jordan." The book is scheduled for release in October.