Strides: Update 1

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Welcome to Strides: Update 1. In these posts, I will update you on the real-life:

  • steps I’ve taken,
  • progress I’ve made,
  • people I’ve connected with and
  • golden takeaways

on this journey to find home in the country, on a budget, as a B.A.M.F.

•••

STEPS TAKEN & PROGRESS MADE

The truth is, I am much further along than I’ve let on when it comes to making moves toward realizing this desire. In fact, I am getting so far ahead of myself, that I’m afraid I may never catch up to reporting on how things are proceeding! So, below is a quick overview of what I’ve been up to.

I have:

  1. Budgeted, researched, applied and been pre-qualified for a loan;
  2. Connected with real estate agents in a couple states and a few regions for updates on new postings;
  3. Researched the cities/towns where the land is located and got an idea of the history, demographics, social and economic priorities, local governance, and cultural characteristics of the region through town websites, Wikipedia, local newspapers and local podcast episodes;
  4. Visited properties;
  5. Interacted with, reached out to and connected with the people who live and work in the community along the way;
  6. Made an offer (still in the negotiating stage) and
  7. Realized that independent of this offer’s acceptance, I like the town. If this offer doesn’t work out, I’d like to seek other opportunities to buy in the area.

CONNECTING with PEOPLE

My sense of urgency to write this *Special Bulletin* reached ‘must do!’ at step #5.  The most benedictory* step of all seven steps above has been connecting with the people–individuals–in these communities along the way. (*Benedictory is a adjective meaning it’s been a blessing.)

I’ve realized that with every conversation and correspondence with the residents of a small town, I am investing in my potential future community. Though our connection may begin as a professional, procedural, or an informational encounter, in a smaller community, there is a higher chance that an individual will become a long-term acquaintance (at the grocery store, the gas station, the market, the hardware store or the coffee shop) outside of the initial professional objective.

The humanity of deciding to live somewhere continues to hit me with each person I encounter on the way to purchasing property. By humanity, I mean the difference between engaging people as means to ends whom you likely won’t connect with beyond that moment, versus viewing the interaction as an introduction to a new, open-ended, potentially ongoing rapport. My positive interactions with a particular town, for example, have convicted me that I may like to live there whether my offer is accepted or not! So far, people have been more patient, helpful, kind and generous with me, a stranger, than I dared dream still existed after years of city-living. This has occurred again and again. I think I’ve tapped into something of the culture of the place: prevalent hospitality. And I like it, very much.

TAKEAWAYS & SUGGESTIONS

I’ll close with a highlight on recent connections made when trying to learn about a region’s racial climate.

In order to gain primary source insight on challenges I may face as a B.A.M.F. in a rural, European American majority community, I reached out to the state ACLU and the nearest chapter of the NAACP*.

To the point- They were excited to hear of another person of color considering moving to their state/region. Without hesitation, they encouraged me to get in touch, and by phone, if in need. ::jaw drop:: ::beaming smile:: Prior to the above ideas to reach out to the ACLU and NAACP, I had thought myself lucky to cross the path of other black people (plural) period, depending on where I looked for land. The earnest responses from the ACLU and NAACP was tremendously encouraging. What they had to share was also substantially sobering.

I’d like to summarize what I learned about what the day-to-day experience of life in a white rural setting, socially and emotionally, as a minority, will/can bring.

As a minority:

  1. I will feel/be both “invisible” and “hyper-visible”.
  2. It can feel/be very isolating. It can/will be hard.
  3. But also, if you can persevere in 1 and 2 “with persistence” in relationships and get connected with the small, but existent!, minority community or support organizations already present, there is a lot that a quieter, more rural life has to offer; it keeps them there, advocating for each other (joined by allies!) as well.

Selah

 

Next up: Uncertain and slightly dangerous’ • Motivations: Black Ownership & Generational Wealth’

 

*If you are considering moving to the country and will be of a minority group in a location, consider reaching out to your local NAACP and state ACLU to get an idea of the racial climate in your area. Do this in addition to your research on other aspects of local life: government, economic opportunity, industry, leisure, transportation, etc. Speak with living people and do not limit yourself to articles speaking of the ‘nation’ as a whole. Though there may be some shared trends, not every pocket of the country-or Country-is the same.

Copyright © 2018 A.M. Wilsonne

Image: Vecteezy.com

Originally posted July 1, 2018 at my poetry site, lalouvalalune.blog

The Journey Begins

The Spark of Inspiration

“What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”
-Langston Hughes, ‘Harlem’

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Once upon the twenty first century, March 11, 1959 to be precise, a twenty-eight year old African American, female, middle class-raised, college drop-out, intellectual, journalist, activist, artist, communist, interracially married, queer, Chicago native author saw her original play premiere at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway in New York City. Her play premiered in unprecedented circumstances while addressing equally unprecedented content for theater at the time: her play presented an intimate view into the life of a black American working class family residing in a major city of the United States. It was performed before white and black audience members alike, and it became wildly successful.

The woman’s name was Lorraine Hansberry,

and her play was titled, ‘A Raisin in the Sun’.

It was the first play written by a black woman, as well as the first play directed by a black man, Lloyd Richards, to ever premiere on Broadway.

In Spring 2018, to my luck, I watched the new PBS documentary on Hansberry’s life titled, ‘Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart’. Learning the details surrounding Hansberry’s life and play moved me deeply: it was written by herself, a black female, directed by a black man, performed by an all black cast, save one, and presented social issues of race, class, gender and integration, from a minority perspective, during the social reality of 1959.

As the film continued, footage from Hansberry’s life post-premiere also sparked a different kind of stirring within me. It was the stirring of an old desire, long forgotten and mostly dismissed, coming back to life and recognition. I experienced the power of image, of an example, of witnessing evidence of precedence with my own two eyes in the images moving across the screen: I saw a young, black woman living in the country, gathering firewood, playing with her dog, still abreast of the world, hosting visitors and working on her art (though honestly, not always enjoying the creation process nor isolating stretches).

It was the early 1960s in upstate New York…          and she looked like me.

My youthful enthusiasm for one day living in a more natural setting, even in the woods, didn’t seem so whimsical anymore; it seemed possible.

~

¹HARLEM
by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.
      Or does it explode?
 ~
Copyright © 2018 A.M. Wilsonne
Originally posted June 3, 2018 at my poetry site, lalouvalalune.blog