Family Gatherings

August has become the month that is chosen for many family reunions, especially since the efforts of Dorothy Height to nationally formalize  the Black Family Reunion Celebration.

In conjunction with the Height-NCNW initiative, Cincinnati has become a destination site for many Black family groups. This year, the August 1718 event at Sawyer Point has chosen the theme “Bringing Families Together”. This activity will draw tens of thousands of people and family groups that share a blood line, but unfortunately have little else in common.  Many more small family gatherings and reunions will be taking place, but again a commonality of purpose, particularly associated with the principle of Sankofa, is clearly to be questioned.

Within my own family, the reality is that there is a growing chorus of discontent expressed by some who question the worth of bringing the family together. They challenge why it is important to promote heritage, history and culture with comments like all that stuff is boring and besides our people never did anything important anyhow. Even the usual questions of cost associated with family dues and hotel reunion expenses are giving way to more sinister and personalized allegations of pimping grandma’s legacy.

We all know family members who have a knack for saying the wrong thing at just the right time to provoke ‘family dramas’. Fortunately, most of us know that we can’t choose our relatives or make them culturally sensitive to want to do the RIGHT thing. We can, nevertheless, choose to put into place that which grandma urged and practiced, and that was to love everyone unconditionally.  So, family is family and perhaps it’s better left to the spirit of the elders to judge the relevance and import of the extension of dignity, honor and respect given unto them.


Would you be proud of them? Or don’t you really know.
If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row.
Strange discoveries are often made, climbing the family tree.
Sometimes one is found in line who shocks the progeny.
If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row.
Perhaps there might be one or two you wouldn’t care to know.
Now turn the question right about and take another view.
When you shall meet your ancestors, will they be proud of you?

Author unknown