The first-annual Black History Month Dinner in the Miser Mom household was a resounding success. Woo-hoo! (In fact, as you can tell by the fact that I'm calling it "first annual", we're already looking forward to next year).
What made it a success? People, for one thing. I had my extended family here (dad, step-mom, sisters, large subset of my children), plus a friend and her friends -- all together, we had 14 people for dinner. We had enough people, in fact, that we had to set up a "cool" table for the teenagers,
and a geeky table for the rest of us.
|(Wait: did N-son get dinner at both tables?)|
The food was fabulous. My sisters (one wearing her pussy hat) cooked up fried catfish and "hipster collard greens" (kale from her own garden, with bacon and other yummy stuff). I added homemade cornbread and store-bought mac-n-cheese.
Next year, though, per about a gazillion suggestions from students and friends, I'm doing fried chicken instead of fried catfish, plus collard greens that are actually collard greens. But this year, I couldn't pass up the offer from my sisters to cook my dinner for me!
I decorated the walls of my living room with photographs I'd gathered during the summer. I had about thirty of these photographs. (The names of the people are mostly the names I came up with last April -- see this post -- with the added suggestions that people included in the comments of that post. That was so helpful!).
To get good quality photos, I consulted with my college librarians. They recommended that when I search via google images, I use the "setting -- advanced search" option to filter by "image size, larger than 1024x768"). This meant that the pictures all came out looking pretty good. I tried to use "action" photos wherever possible (Maya Angelou lying on her carpet, writing, or Sidney Poitier next to a movie camera) to add context.
|My sister hangs out with Shirley Chisholm, Muhammad Ali, and others.|
|My daughter sits between Oprah Winfrey and Alex Haley, among others.|
It helped that each photo had three colors of sticky notes: a yellow name, a green accomplishment, and a pink accomplishment
An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist who was the first female self-made millionaire in America, she became one of the wealthiest African American women in the country.
At the end, my friend Amanda led us through a "what surprising things did you learn?" exercise, to wrap it all up. Amanda hadn't known about Major Marshall Walker; my sisters hadn't known that the first major-party black candidate for the President of the United States was a woman (Shirley Chisholm), and so on. The teenage boys, who had asked for this in the first place, and who in true teenage fashion alternated between enthusiasm and pretending to be too cool for the event, either actively or quietly soaked it all up. (Heh-heh . . . I don't know whether having a pair of teenage girls at the dinner made the event more palatable, or whether it added to J-son's impulse to be a bit aloof from the activity.) When I asked the boys about doing it again next year, they both gave an emphatic "yes".
In the meanwhile, my family is delightedly sending me more names to include in next year's profiles. On her flight back home, my youngest sister snapped this photo of a statue in BWI airport: Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to earn a pilot's license. Uppity women unite!