I remember the day well.
I was eight years old. We were living in New York City. Cerntral Park was safe those days and amoug the places my sister and I played.
Afros had come into fashion.
My step-father, having left the Navey and gotten his Barber licence, began cutting hair. His was the first afro in the house. Mummie was next.
My sister, loving my mum's new look, decided she too wanted her hair cut and formed into an afro.
I was the holdout. As much as I liked the new look, I also looked my long hair. It was my proud and joy.
My mummie, knowing this, wisely told me if I had my hair cut, it could not be glued back on.
Finally I agreed to go along with the rest of the family and as my mum feared, once I saw my waist long hair gone, I cried for hours.
The next day was monday. It was winter so I wore my flavorite wool hat.
But once it was off, the reaction was instant. The teacher's mouth flew open and the children in my class backed away from me like I was now a Vampire.
Finally, a blonde boy screamed: "Your black!"
You see, up until that moment everyone thought because of my long braids, I was Native Amercian.
I looked up from my seat and with a strong voice and pride that even shocked me, I responed:"Yes, I am! So what?"
I don't remember anything else about that school year. Later in the summer, we would move to Boston.
But that winter morning was the awaking of me finding my voice.