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Famous Black Women Entrepreneurs --The African American Heritage told By Gramps James

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I am a 27 years old Electrical Engineer and I can tell you right now that 'pride and glory' run through my veins. Honestly, being African American is just a blessing; also half Italian and Cherokee, run briskly on my grandmother´s side. All these backgroungs can tell you a lot about my beginnings.

This is the first draft of my own story. Tonight, yes tonight, I chose to write about my gramps or 'Pop-pop'. How he changed my life like a blessing in disguise.

Every year since I was 5, I think, he would take me to my parents' front porch and ceremoniously would make me have a sit on a wooden bench next to him, and start talking about slave trading, Civil War, Isle of man, Accra-Ghana and 'Amistad' before the famous feature Movie.

What I remembered the most was his voice, a well educated man, who became a history teacher after coming back from Korea. He met grandma one night at a receptioning near the steel mill here at the Monongahela Valley back in 1958.

He studied History like no one else, and, I guess, this was set by a supreme and Godly intervention; he became my mentor and more than a granddad, he Joined my gramma at the steel mill, however, he was offered a job at the local high school. Grandma, unfortunately, died in 1979 after a fire on the TIG welding section. Every February the 2nd he would talk to me about our own History, and you know what? That was the date when my beloved grandmother died (February 2nd, 1979)

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman



I can remember this special day and, I would have to go back to 1993 when I was barely nine years old. I think I was on 4th grade. I had an assignment on black History month for my school, and I had brought home several books I have chosen in a hurry. I had to make a choice. It was hard but he told me to close those books and just listen to him "With my heart. synchronized with his own."

"Lets choose Oprah, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman and gramma Lorraine," he said with watery eyes. "But grandma Lorraine is not in the books," I said to my 'Pop-pop.'

"But she is in our hearts! Come and feel my heart dear Leroy," said to me, raising his voice with pride. "She was a magnificent welder at the steel mill and became an entrepreneur in her own right, back in 1968.

"Grandpa, why do you get so emotional when you talk about grandma?"

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"When you get older and remember these words, you will be crying like Oprah"

"I think you´are going to make sense grandpa"

His style became mine and, yep! he would always make me finish a sentence that was started by him.

"Why did these women succeed Leroy?" I was ready to answer by heart: "perseverance, being able to believe in themselves and being thankful to?" At first I would say, "to their parents," but he would correct me by saying: "being thankful to the Maker."

His way of teaching was beyond any explanation and I 'literally' enjoyed his particular reasoning.

"Now this 'drinking Gourd' you see right now on tonight's starry sky, was genetically instilled in my genes, your genes and the four ladies we are talking about."

I was shocked by his words!! "There was a North Star, a goal and the desire to be better and excel," he said all these words while pointing to this Big Dipper up on the sky. Can you imagine a child at nine being taught History like no one else? My grandpa James was in my life for a reason. But, let's hear from him again:

"Only the fitest would survive the black plague, laying down next to rats on 'Amistad.' Being able to overcome adversity and get stronger dear son. Now pay attention, for instance, Maya's style of Poetry was concocted from within. Eyes, hands, 'emotional breathing' and her heart. All these variables made her unique. Her words would flow like healing souls that would keep anyone in awe," said my grandpa making a fist that would reach out to make his point strong enough for me to understand. Hallelujah!

"Oprah overcame poverty using her brain. If you see, or noticed it, her voice was an important tool to get her to the top. Like Harriet, she would never look back to negative thoughts. The strength was there and, as you can see, both became icons without even noticing it."

Before my beloved grandpa finished these words, he took a picture from his old Army jacket. It was a picture of him and grandma seated on this very bench. Dressed to the Motown era. His eyes got watery again, as he held that picture against his heart. After of a split of a second we cried together and embraced. He was right! His grandson was getting the lesson of a lifetime and was impregnated deeply with emotions never felt in memories and cathartic neurons.

"Women were entrepreneurs, before men. They made decisions, they raised future legends and leaders, and were never recognized.

You won't find these thoughts in any search engine son. My words come fromdeep within and you will win in the end. No one, until today, could ever feel ancestry through our pores..." His wisdom became mine and changed my thinking forever. That night he made me feel proud of him and our race. As I finish writing these lines I could not stop crying, because he passed away on February 2nd, 2008. God bless grandpa and grandma!

Note: Before dying, he became blind due to Glaucoma, but he still was himself: He did persevere, and believed in himself, and myself!


Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on July 23, 2012:

Thanks Made for visiting and sharing our story. We just came out with the story, after certain events and real people...who we know about. Hope to see you again!

Mary, Thanks fro your support. We like to delve into stories that passed us by. The rest is just added as we go. Goodnight friend!

Mary Craig from New York on July 23, 2012:

Beautiful story, beautiful relationships, beautiful ideas, beautiful people. Whether grandma & pop-pop were real the fact that they are based on real people makes them real. You always draw us in and keep us there!

Voted up, awesome and interesting.

Madeleine Salin from Finland on July 22, 2012:

Great story filled with emotions. This was very interesting!

FloraBreenRobison on February 04, 2012:

Amy loves to nap.

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 04, 2012:

Flora! You did forget Amy's aproval for this one! Unless she was taking her nap. Lol! Your rich background is appealing. So when you eat chicken, my guess, you really enjoy it to the last wing?? Thanks for the long response Flora Breen Robison.


FloraBreenRobison on February 04, 2012:

I love this history of your background. Thanks for sharing this. I love to learn about people's ancestors.

I don't have any African history, but I am a bit of a melting pot of Europe, so I'm familiar with being a mixture of cultures. We do have some similar background as my father is half Italian. I am 1/4 Italian, 1/4 Scandinavian, 3/8 United Kingdom (all 4 countries), and 1/8 German/French from a great-grandparent. Add to that the fact that I have American and Canadian relatives and there are 9 countries I have ties to them. I root for Italy in the World Cup, by the way. Sadly, Canadian has never made the final 16.

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Hi there Susan Holland,

The story came to us overnight as most of our inspirations. The touching moments just come in pieces from images and past moments that I experienced myself. Thanks Bunches!



I want to thank you too for your feedback. More stories will come with our own style.


India Arnold from Northern, California on February 01, 2012:

Rich and worthy writing within a touching and inspiring story. Great stuff!



Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on February 01, 2012:

What a wonderful family story! Votes and shared! (Good to see you back!)

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Hi Simone,

For a reason and inspirational flair this hub was written after midnight, and delivered to our friends. Images and senses took hold of us...and the muses were around to hold our head up. Thanks for stopping by!


Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Thanks Tammy!

Gramps is from Monessen PA, and he is real as you and me.


Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on February 01, 2012:

Three cheers for grandma Lorraine! She sounds awesome- though I am particularly fond of welding, for some reason (FIRE!!!). Your more famous choices are fantastic, too. I feel inspired!

Tammy from North Carolina on February 01, 2012:

Very powerful. Well done!

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Hi there Levertis, even though this is a fictional account... has shades of truth. You being a granny know better. Thanks for your support!


Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on February 01, 2012:

This story moved me to speechlessness. Well done! Voted up.

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Thanks SUZYCAT7,

This is really a tribute to all women from all the races. If you noticed there was little mention about them on the Civil war books. They walked the walk next to their husbands in arms, feeding their kids under smelly tents that were witness to their own despair.


Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

You are very right Martie,

Not that you know better about this issues through Aparthied, but the fact that all of us can overcome the mountain of adversity ahead. Women changed the world with their subtle voice and their own sensitiveness. In my case was my mother and grandparents. Dad was there until I was 15, but made an impact on my life. Thanks for your support my dear friend!


suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on February 01, 2012:

Beautiful Hub - your writing hit nerves and brought a tear to my eye.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 01, 2012:

You've touched a few sensitive social issues in this story, Joseph, and also the hearts of your readers. Behind every man is a woman or three... and if he is really lucky, a grandfather as well.

Voted up and beautiful :)

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Hi there my fellow Poet from Northern lands. If you felt the message then you felt our connection. For some reason this story was penned down with no problem. Photographic memories and our own hearts made the rest. Thanks Saddle1!


Vincent Moore on February 01, 2012:

Lord how nice to see you back here with quill in hand. It's 04:28 and this restless poet was awaken by spirits in my room and I was drawn to my keyboard and thus opened to find you here with this wonderful story.

It brought visuals to me as I sat here and read. Also a tear rolled down my cheek as under my dim light my mind raced with the "Wanderings of a Lively Mind" a title I am moved to scribe about, but before I begin I was moved by this beautiful story of your ancestry and the Love and kindness instilled by so many of our loved ones who have passed to the other side of life.

Oh the wonder that awaits us to share with them again as we did while they were amongst us. Peace and blessings to you my scribe.

Joseph De Cross (author) from New York on February 01, 2012:

Hi Eddy,

This is a fictional story based on real events here and there... The emotions and sensitiveness were felt by me and are here to be shared. Sure there was a gramps!


Eiddwen from Wales on February 01, 2012:

Oh thank you so much for linking this one to my Facebook page;I love it and cannot wait for more.

That you are part Cherokee also fascinates me and you obviously have so many great childhood memories.

Your grandmother sounds like an amazing lady and even if she is no longer on this earth she will never be gone will she.A true legend and 'Pop-pop'? Well what more can I say it is so nice to have these wonderful memories to treasure forevrmore.

I have to award this one my up up and away.

Takecare and have a great day.


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