Black History Month is more than just a month for me, I live it every day: being black and the history that comes with it. I’m so proud to stand on any platform, on any day of the month, any month of the year and say I’m Black and proud. From January to January, all February days long, I’m black and I’m proud. I’m proud of my rich history from around the world and here at home in the United States. I’m proud to share with you a bit of my history from the tribes I come from. Then Blandford and St. Clair Clan, sons of honor, Brave and true.
The Rene and Pierre-Charles, hailing from the Republic of Haiti, which was built by a resilient people who refused to stay in chains of slavery. Survivors who won their independence from the French on January 1, 1804 and celebrating 215 years of Independence this year , whatever happens despite all of the catastrophes and adversities, including earthquakes, cholera, storms & hurricanes; Haitians recover and sill stand as a Independent nation, and a proud people. My father Luc Pierre-Charles is a man of integrity, strong like his African ancestors, have a love for family, duty, and a determination to keep hope alive. I inherited and draw on that type of strength to stay strong, to keep my head up, learn from my mistakes, and become the best that I can be through difficult situations. From the Haitian blood and spirit that flows through my innermost, I am to the utmost proud to be my father’s son. Here on the home front is my maternal side, the Blandford and St. Clair Clan .Many athletes, Activist, members of the medical field, singers and songwriters has come down our line, but I would like to share with you a snippet of the accomplishments of one of our own beloved ancestors who still today inspires many:
My Great, Great, Great Uncle Arthur St. Clair. The brother of my Ancestral Grandfather Hampton St. Clair Sr. Arthur St. Clair was a slave on the Plantation owned by John and Marina Sanderson May, and eventually gained his freedom after the American Civil War he was Hernando County’s first past civil war Voter registrar from 1867 to 1868. He and his brother Hampton St. Clair my Ancestral Grandfather Founded Hernando County’s first Black school. Uncle Arthur was also a Baptist Minister and founded Bethlehem Progressive Baptist Church. He was candidate for office in the state legislative three times as a Republican, and would have been the 4th time, but was murdered by a mob of two months before the election. This all took place because he presided over the interracial marriage of Dave James and a black man to Lizzie Day a white woman. The County Courthouse was destroyed in a suspicious fire, which destroyed records including those related to the case, and was followed by other obstruction of efforts seeking justice in the case.
In 2007 the Brooksville city council named this brave uncle of mine a great Brooksvillian in; it was the sixth person designated with the honor, and the first African American so honored. And I honor his memory today, He was the first African American in our area to accomplish many feats in a time when Blacks were not included, were an afterthought if thought of at all, lynched , hated, ostracized; well we all know the history. There stood a man, my flesh and blood that went against the odds and accomplished much more than I have written before his death. A mullatto slave turned founder, minister, politician, a trendsetter, a man who stood by his belief that all men were created equal. My uncle, my ancestor, Arthur St. Clair.
Yes, I am proud on this day, and everyday to be included into a great culture. My Ancestral line, My Clan, My People. Combined we are one:
Watu Wuzuri in Africa.
Bel Moun en Haiti.
Beautiful People in the U.S.A.