Grandma Speaks Desegregation in Chicago, Abandonment of Englewood and Flower Power to Black Power.


(Jordan) How are you different than your mother
as a grandmother? (Rena) I’m different from mama because mama is a post-war baby and
that generation they grew up with the premise that children should be seen
and not heard and you don’t ask questions at all. I mean you just don’t.
So we weren’t talked to about sex or anything like that and most of them for
the most part they were staying home women, and the man was the man of the
house so the decisions were his. He made the decision, he’ll ask you your
opinion, but the final word was his. I never did get that. I came out the
gate being rebellious in terms of that. You know I, I did establish that
when I was young, I was not going to be that type of wife, I wasn’t going to be
that type of grandmother. Now where my mother and I are alike, my mother really
raised my children because I was the single mom, she was a stay-at-home mom
still even when dad was there so when I was working she was babysitting my kids
and then when Daddy died and I took on the breadwinner for the house she was
watching my kids and then when I retired I wound up almost in that position
because my daughter and her husband were having problems, my son
and his wife were having problems and I looked up one day and I was taking care of these grandchildren. (Jordan)Grandmas holds a special place in our culture. We cherish their endless love,
we admire their skills in the kitchen we, we rely on them as babysitters, we hold them
up as examples of honesty and moral purity. But did my grandmother and the
women like her make such sacrifices out of choice or due to a lack of choice, to
meet the expectations set for them by society? To be a strong eat last type of
matriarch? Were they the result of wonderful character traits or the
oppressive demands of American society? or both? For our grandmothers, what are
the motivations and forces behind their seemingly superhuman abilities? hey y’all, this is Jordan Thierry of Dream Chase Life. Today’s episode of Grandma’s Roses highlights from my conversation
interview with my aunt Rena who is hilarious ferocious and full
of so much love. And one of the memories that I have of Aunt Rena is when
she joined my mom to come visit me my freshman year during the parent weekend
at college and I was really not feeling their visit, I was like really trying to
avoid kickin it with them. But aunt Rena was there to kind of comfort my mom and
be company for her because I was trying to ditch them but she also just made it
really fun and we all ended up having I think a good time. I’m not proud of how I
was but I was really just getting that first taste of Independence and she was
there and she called it out but she also made sure my mom had a really great time
and she also cracked me up while she was there so I hope you enjoyed this
interview within arena we’re gonna break this up into two or three different
episodes because the conversation was so valuable. In this episode she’s gonna
talk a little bit about growing up in the era of desegregation and she’s also
going to talk about the effect of the Black Power movement on her life so
enjoy and please share your thoughts and comments below in the comment
section. Thank you, peace. My name is Rena Annetta Jordan formerly Rhymes. I have
four children and out of those four children I have 11 grandchildren five
boys six girls and I am a great grandmother of five four girls to our
twins and one boy where you live now and you know how you
came to live here currently I’m living in Las Vegas Nevada.
I came following my aunt that I call Aunt Mary
Edna Thierry and her husband Ollie Thierry they they’re from Galesburg I had moved
to Galesburg from Chicago. I’m originally from Chicago and Mary really was like a
mother a sister another mother she and my mother grew up together she babysat
me and our summers were spent in Galesburg and I liked Galesburg so much
that when I became up I moved down there eventually after my divorce. We all abandoned Englewood to be honest and, and the thing that’s funny about it we all
left the neighborhood our parents moved out but guess what they all moved up the
street Englewood left Englewood per se and then
we all wound up in the same neighborhood but up the street as they call it
further south and then we went to the suburbs so we no longer cared about
Englewood we we didn’t go back to the neighborhood and look after the ones
that were left and the ones that were left had to struggle with the new people
coming in the new people coming in was a different environment their their
scruples were different from where the way we were raised so the properties
went down because the kids moved away nobody came back to see about them
businesses closed up and it went into despair
then they redistricted the neighborhood so we got we got different nationalities
coming back in and always see the thing about it we repeated ourselves
but we repeated it differently. When my parents grew up it was Jewish
it was Jewish families black families everybody was comprised of black collar
workers things like that and then when the Jewish community left and the whites
moved out we were still there but a lot of them they were prominent there were
doctors like I said postal workers bus drivers things like that ministers and
once everybody started moving the bank started closing because if the people
are moving out there’s no revenue to put in the banks so that’s what really
happened to Engel it what was the ruling Brown versus the Board of Education
that’s the one where the Thurgood Marshall ruled on okay
they changed the the district and and what they did they read they they did a
desegregation so to speak and so my comfort zone was moved for me the school
that I was going to Copernicus I was forced to go to earl school which was to
me away from where we were living and it was it we were sent to our all-white
neighborhood that was racist and we were subject to race riots then and it was so
bad that it you just imagine being a seventh and eighth grader and younger
all of us being forced to have a police escort and have these grown-ups throwing
rocks and things at us ambushing us so it got so bad with the
race riot that the principal mr. Tobin had the police we had a 15 minute curfew
we had to walk from school they moved me to a school I hated Earl school and then
I later went to Henderson school which was even further out of my district
then Copernicus was and we had a 15-minute curfew to be escorted to the
south east corner of Ashland 3:30 was the cutoff and after that the
police left us if you were caught on the wrong side of Street say yeah 335 and
you got ambushed that was on you cuz you should have been there for the police
escort now the one thing that I can say my mother was a stay-at-home mom as was
during that time a lot of the mothers were stay-at-home moms now because the
dads were working so the moms were escorting us to school and trying to
shield us from the walks and things that were being hurled at us now that was one
part of that light that I didn’t like and I think another reason why the
residents of Inglewood left was because of that ruling now that ruling you have
to understand that ruling was good for down south and schools like that but up
in Chicago where we were I didn’t like it I was young I didn’t like it and when
I think back was that a good move for me no no because I it put me first hand
into something I never had to experience that I knew of even though the school
that I went to it was a lot of white teachers same teachers to be exact it
taught my parents they were still there because at that
the the race wasn’t an issue that your education was in jeopardy when a child
was out of school you looked up it was a white teacher at your door or the truant
officer with that white teacher asking what’s going on
so I didn’t encounter that racial prejudice some of it was there don’t get
me wrong but it was blatant when they read they changed that district and I
had to go too early I never got called the names that I did until that point
and that gave me a whole new spin a spin now I did encounter some racial stuff at
Copernicus but I have always been raised to speak up speak my mind and the
teachers identify right away they didn’t know if I was an only child my mother
dressed me nice as this is what they said according to them and but my
parents made the mistaken told me to speak my mind I always had to look my
teachers in the eye and I think that they thought that was brazen the Black
Power movement for me was a it was it was power that I didn’t think that black
people could ever have I didn’t think that we could let our hair go out
natural and it would be accepted I didn’t think that we could go back to
wearing the bones and and the natural elements that came from what they called
the motherland and I just sucked that up I enjoyed I mean I was wearing nothing
on underneath and just a dashiki or nor I was making my stuff my father made my
first would say it wasn’t a dashiki but it was
an african outfit that he made of the one shoulder thing I mean it was
gorgeous and I modeled it in the show but he thought I was just modeling it
because he designed it no that gave me the power right there
the only thing that I did not do that I wanted to do is have my ear stretch with
the bone but the rest of the stuff I was coming to the table the dinner table all
crazy when my militant stop on and you know we couldn’t sit there at the table
with no shoes on I had to get up you you can’t eat dinner at the table with no
shoes on okay I’ll go to bed she was my mother my mother’s sitting over there
okay so she would come in the room with the typical glass of water and bread and
butter and they we know why are you doing this thing I just felt that I had
come alive my hand was up like this all the time I was wearing the NAM bracelets
up Angela Davis I went to her rallies I mean I was there so that’s what the
Black Power movement was for me after I discovered that I wasn’t white gave me
because I went through the flower power thing I came to table with flowers up
painting it all on my face I went through that you know pieced up every
hour it was rough he had Bacon’s on then when I really discovered I wasn’t white
i Twiggy yet come out I had cut my hair off could you cut that for a minute I
think I had the bangs and Twiggy had the circles and stuff on her eyes and that’s
I came to the table my best friend we I couldn’t get a perm to have my hair like
that English cut so she said you know how to
keep your hair tied down take two sanitary napkins put them in
the stock and make sure the red line wasn’t showing tie it on and then put a
pair of panties on your head so that it wouldn’t slip off for the
night and that’s how you can lay your head down like Twiggy well needless to
say that I got sent from the table again but I did that before I got to black
power could you believe that I mean you know I don’t have to wear a bra anymore
I did that I didn’t know who I was during that time but then when when the
Black Power movement came in I said this is me I’m not a flower power I mean I
was peace peace on you love giving out flowers and stuff me and my girlfriend
would go to the local flower shopping go to this come come to school and I’ll go
through the lunchroom get putting flowers and clover on everybody’s desk
come on that’s crazy hey thanks for tuning in to dream taste life if you’re
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One thought on “Grandma Speaks Desegregation in Chicago, Abandonment of Englewood and Flower Power to Black Power.

  1. Look at my granny! I love this and im not just saying it. I have always loved listening about their upbringing and where we are from. How we as their children and grandchildren have come from. Im subcribed. I cant wait for the next one!

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