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Day 8: Legacy #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 8: Legacy #SteeleThankful Challenge

Legacy.

Let’s think about the weight that the word carries.  I know my parents and grandparents would always mention their legacy.  It was probably their daily goal to establish a legacy for their family.  I mean honestly when you’re gone, your family still has your legacy to reflect on.

After unpacking some of my dad’s things, my grandfather’s items were in there as well.  My grandfather was the first black Justice of the Peace of Berrien County in Michigan.  I remember being a little girl and knowing when the election season was approaching, or when it was election day.

My grandfather was extremely passionate about entrepreneurship, and equal rights.  The model that was shown to me that you have your word above everything else.  I know the importance of exercising my right to vote because of the legacy of John S. Williams.

I’m #SteeleThankful for an example of leaving behind a legacy that we can all be proud of.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Steele Thankful 2016

Archives 101: I…Hoard

Archives 101: I…Hoard

If you have been hanging around the site and my social media accounts for the last week I have been talking about unpacking my journey with grief.  No, it’s not Tuesday, but I spent my #GriefTalkTuesday talking with others about grief, and continuing to go through my dad’s stuff that was in storage.

Okay so I realized something.  Well, I honestly saw the pattern years ago but I finally owned it this week.  I hoard.  I hoard PAPERS!  I love words on paper, on a screen, but especially on paper.  Words strategically placed can tell a story, a very POWERFUL story.  You get those words together with dates, and you can build a timeline.  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing all week.  Piecing together a timeline to show my family’s history.

So, I get it honestly.  My dad kept EVERYTHING!  Organized for his easy access.  I think, anyways.  In one box there were childhood photos, old bills, the purchase agreement for his truck, instruction manuals, and land deeds.  I’ll explain the land deeds later, because it requires its own post!

I always knew that my grandfather was a visionary, but the more I unpack my dad’s “archives” I realize how much of a leader my grandfather truly was.  Your leadership skills are proven when you are absent, and your team is still great!

I found this gem (featured photo).  I knew that my dad always tried to plan ahead.  Well, he clearly got that from my grandparents, especially my grandfather.  If you’ve been rockin’ with me for a minute you would know how I feel about life insurance.  It’s important.  Scratch that, it’s VERY IMPORTANT.  This policy is proof that my grandfather was always thinking about the future.  Twenty cents a week to insure your child!  Imagine insuring over five at that time.  It was worth it, I’m sure!

Maybe I need to retire the word “hoard.”  I need to focus on what does my personal archives say about myself and my legacy.  What story will be told after I’m gone?  I understand that life is truly the hyphen punctuation (you know life is the dash) in every journey.  I decided a couple of years to focus more on the future, but taking it one day at a time.  As we are working towards closing out 2015, let’s plan to do more for ourselves, and our legacies.  Create, Protect, and Preserve!

Day 25 – “Legacy” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 25 – “Legacy” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Legacy – a gift of property, especially personal property, as money by will; a bequest

Let’s think about it this way.  Every time you leave home you are representing your family.  That’s the way I was raised.  My dad was constantly asking someone, “who are your people?”  My dad even began asking my friends when he came to North Carolina.  I thought it was odd because we’re from Michigan.  No matter where I lived I had to remember that I represent my family, and I did it with pride.

My grandfather moved to Michigan from Mississippi.   He was apart of the Great Migration movement, when blacks were moving from the rural south to different parts of the country.  In this case, Grandpa John resided in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan; Benton Harbor.  He became involved in local politics, purchasing land, and working to provide a solid foundation for his family.

I can remember the stories growing up about my grandfather being involved in the funeral business in some capacity, and he was quite a handy man.  Several years ago my dad was cleaning out my grandfather’s office, and came across this ticket.  As an Archivist, I felt I had struck gold.  It was another piece of our family legacy that I could add to the timeline of our history.  It also made me think that he had the faith to run for such a position over fifty years ago.  This handsome man was looking to represent the county as the Coroner, and I must not forget he was the first black Justice of the Peace in Berrien County.

He was simply Grandpa to me, and that was a title that he admired.  He truly wanted to make a difference in his community, and provide for his family.  What will your legacy say about you?  You can make a difference in your community and the world, but it all starts at home!  How will you make a difference today?  I’ve started with writing the vision, and making sure I live this one life that I do have with no regrets.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?