by Monica Davis
Way back in the dark ages in the mid-sixties, I had an aunt who, at best, would be called a black nationalist survivalist. This was long before I understood any of those terms. Born in 1916, she came from two generations of black farmers in western Kentucky. Her grandfather, my great-grandfather was a former slave who managed to buy a section (600 acres) of farm land, and cleared hundreds of other acres in the area.
His landownership allowed him and his family a degree of independence that black sharecroppers could not have dreamed of. He and his son were firm believers in self-reliance and self-sufficiency, so much so that the family pretty much kept to themselves, except for school and the ocassional involuntary excursion to see the world–WWI, WW2, Korea, and Viet Nam. In the outside world, the boys learned trades–automobile repair, institutional cooking, and factory assembly.
The wars allowed the men in the family to see the outside world, good or bad, and to escape g-grandfather’s heavy hand. Yet, the men would return from war, some bought farms with their service pay, others went to work doing odd jobs to supplement their family’s farm income.