Join in the celebration of #RRBCAuthor @sharrislaughter, #RRBC’s November “SPOTLIGHT” Author! #Author of #OurLadyOfVictory

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is all about supporting, uplifting and promoting authors. And Shirley Harris Slaughter is a great supporter of others. So, this month, it’s her time to shine!

Not only does she have a newly polished re-release of “Our Lady of Victory,” but she has a birthday on the 28th, which is also the day she co-hosts the RAVE WAVES show, RATERS NOT HATERS.

Shirley was chosen for the Spotlight Author for the month of November, so she is being celebrated in a big way!

If you missed my interview with her on the RAVE WAVES show, #RRBCBringOnTheSpotlight, you can catch the replay below. It was a ton of fun! Especially when her two sisters showed up! 🙂

But the highlight of Shirley’s writing career is the re-release of her first book, “Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African American Catholic Church!

Blurb:  This is a second edition with updates on the state of this historic church. In the original publication files were lost then resurfaced with content altered along with missing photos during transition from one publisher to another. Such is the fate of an Independent Author.
This book evolved out of years of frustration at the total disregard and lack of respect for the contributions of Black Catholics in the city of Detroit. The author says, “We are not mentioned in the pages of history along with the other Catholic churches that sprung up during the World War II era, and that needed to be corrected.” The author did fulfill one dream since publication … that this church can now be found on the web even though it has merged with another church. It is now called Presentation-Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

I had the privilege of reading and reviewing this book!

MY REVIEW:

4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Piece of History Preserved Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020

I know nothing about the catholic church or religion and I learned a lot from reading the factual account of the establishment and demise of Our Lady of Victory, a black catholic church in Detroit, Michigan. While names and locations didn’t mean anything to me, the main focus of the book was the sense of community and the difficulties that came when there was forced blending. I admired the strength the author’s mother showed, struggling to provide for her children as a single mother and her determination to see that they received a good education and religious background. This is true preservation of a piece of history for future generations to learn from that might otherwise have been lost. It is relevant to today’s society as an example of how racial discrimination can destroy lives. My hat is off to this author for her detailed account of the birth and death of this church and the names, dates, and events she chronicled.

Pick up your copy today!

PURCHASE LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Lady-Victory-African-American-Community-ebook/dp/B08JJL8JFF/

Congratulations, Shirley, and happy early birthday!

Decoration Day

I am going to show my age by saying that I remember when this holiday was called “Decoration Day.” It wasn’t until 1971 that it became an official federal holiday and the name changed to Memorial Day.

I’m not a big history buff, but I love finding bits and pieces of fascinating historical events that have helped to form us into what we are today.

I discovered that the first time this day was set aside to honor those who gave their lives in battle happened shortly after the end of the bloody Civil War.

(Copied from the History.com website) On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

And there you have it. When I was a kid, we would load up the car and travel from Hobbs, New Mexico to California on May 30th to visit my dad’s family. Those trips were some of my most vivid childhood memories. Little did I know the date had anything to do with veterans or war. For me, seen through the eyes of a child, it was just our time to go to California.

I’ll share a quick story from one of those trips. Let me preface this by saying that our dad did not like to stop. He saw it as a precious waste of time, so all mandatory stops were short and sweet.

We pulled into a service station somewhere in Arizona for gas. That was back in the day when a person came out, filled up your car, checked your oil, and washed your windshield. (And they didn’t even expect a tip!) So, while Dad was talking to the service station attendant, Mom, myself and my sister got out of the back seat to go use the restroom.

As soon as the car was serviced, Dad jumped back in and took off without ever glancing in the backseat. He made it several miles down the road before he realized we weren’t back there. 🙂 Needless to say, Mom was not a happy camper by the time he got back to the station, and she let him know about it the rest of the way to California.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day everyone!!

The Story of Nanyehi With Becky Hobbs

This is one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done to date, for the Oklahoma Farm and Ranch magazine. So, I thought I’d share it. Since this interview, they have turned this into a film and are entering it at film festivals around the world.

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 “I started writing songs when I was nine-years-old. I was born to write songs, and I’ve known that my whole life,” Becky Hobbs stated in a recent interview.

Hobbs was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. When she was in high school, she formed the first all-female rock band in Oklahoma, The Four Faces of Eve. She went on to have quite a successful career in country music with many of her songs gaining popularity through her own recordings as well as other artists.

But her latest musical project combines her consummate songwriting prowess with a deeply personal and profoundly historic story.

Nancy Ward (Nanyehi) is Hobbs’ fifth great-grandmother born around 1738. Hobbs recalls stories passed down through the family.

“I was very fortunate because I always knew I was a direct descendant of Nancy Ward, Nanyehi, through all female lineage except for my great-grandfather, Richard Taylor Parks who came to Indian territory in the late 1800s. He was a horseback preacher man and hailed from East Tennessee,” Hobbs said. “Cherokee society was female driven. It was matriarchal; it was matrilineal. When a baby was born, he or she was born into the mother’s clan. The Cherokee women made the most important decisions, like when to go to war. In fact, in the 1700s, the whites dubbed the Cherokee tribes as The Petticoat Society. In Nancy Ward’s day, she represented the Cherokee at many peace negotiations. The whites were always amazed that they would let a woman speak for them.”

I found this bit of history to be most interesting. Hobbs has extensive knowledge about her beloved Cherokee tribe and is prolific in the language.

Hobbs continued, “When I was a little girl, my mom would tell me a story that intrigued me. Nancy Ward was around seventeen-years-old. Her husband, Kingfisher was battling the Creek Indians at the Battle of Taliwa in 1755. She was beside him, chewing the bullets, giving them ragged edges to make them more deadly. Kingfisher was killed, so Nanyehi took his rifle and led the Cherokee to victory.”

That act earned Nancy Ward a high status within the tribe. She was honored as War Woman, headed up the Women’s Council to determine the fate of captives and she became Nanyehi – Beloved Woman of the Cherokee.

What inspired Hobbs to honor her Fifth Great-Grandmother?

“There are eighteen songs in the musical, and I wrote or co-wrote them all,” Hobbs Said. “The interesting thing is that in 1993, I got all fired up to do a music album to pay tribute to Nancy Ward. So, I wrote a handful of these songs back then. That was the year that David Hampton in Tulsa established the Association of the Descendants of Nancy Ward. They were looking for a theme song, and I wrote “Let There Be Peace” and “Pale Moon,” that year.”

Hobbs admitted that around that time, her country music career took off like a bullet and she got so busy that she put the project aside, knowing that someday, she wanted to create something to honor her ancestor’s life.

Hobbs continues with her story, “In 2007, for the one-hundredth anniversary of Oklahoma Statehood, I was invited to participate in a celebration in Bartlesville. Well, I could not stand up there and talk about Oklahoma without talking about my Cherokee heritage. So, I talked about Nancy Ward and sang “Let There be Peace Among Us” and “Pale Moon,” and shared some of her stories. After the show, the director, Nick Sweet, came up to me and said, ‘I know who Nancy Ward was.’ So, we talked for a while, and I said, ‘You know, I’ve got some other songs besides the ones I sang tonight. Maybe we should get together and try to write a musical.’ And that’s kind of where it all started.”

Nick Sweet has been a stage director in Oklahoma and Texas for the past forty years, so he brought a level of expertise to the table that Hobbs needed to move forward with this passionate tribute.

One year later in November 2008, Hobbs decided it was time.

“I woke up and told my husband, ‘Today’s the day.’ He said, ‘Today’s the day for what? Are you going to leave me?’ I said, ‘I’m going to move forward in telling Nancy Ward’s story.’ I went to the bathroom and looked out the window, and there was a white owl perched in a tree staring at me. This was around 8:30 in the morning, and it was bright daylight. So, I knew it was a sign.”

Within six months, Hobbs wrote the musical, learning it all the hard way. She contacted Nick Sweet and asked him to direct it, and they performed Nanyehi publicly for the first time in 2009. Hobbs shares that the first performance was only herself, her husband, accomplished guitarist, Duane Sciagcua, Nick Sweet and his wife, Peggy. They each read scenes and Hobbs and husband performed songs live.

From its humble beginnings, Nanyehi has had eight major productions, been picked up by a major production company in Georgia and now has a cast of approximately twenty people including professional actors and actresses.

The songs for Nanyehi are incredibly amazing. From the first, “White Wolf on the Horizon” to the last, “Let There Be Peace,” they tell the entire story from Nancy Ward’s birth to her death, with many adventures in between, including the famed battle of Taliwa where Kingfisher died.

Nanyehi at grave

Although Hobbs has had many musical accomplishments in her lifetime, she openly admits she is most proud of Nanyehi. It not only took her out of her comfort zone but gave her a medium to educate so many about the Cherokee tribe as well as celebrate Nancy Ward’s fascinating life.

If you’d like more information, please visit http://www.nanyehi.com/

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