“Find The Good and Praise It”

booksah“Find the good and praise it” is one of my favorite quotes by Alex Haley.

Haley was a Pulitzer-prize winning author of “Roots,” “Queen,” and co-author of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”

The thought of finding good in something or someone is such an important skill to have, at least in my opinion.  And, then praising it is even better.  It can be difficult at times but this quote reminds us to try.

This is a great way to live one’s life since you are looking for positive traits rather than dwelling on those things that may irritate you or concern you about someone.

I have someone close to me who is a pessimist.  This person always seems to see the worst part of a situation or person.  This, to me, can be exhausting since I am by nature a more positive and upbeat person.  I often have to remember that this person sees life in a very different way than I do.

Also, having a 5-year-old child who is still discovering so many things and learning each day helps me to stay open and positive to all that life has to offer.  The beauty of watching a child find his or her way is very good and to be praised.  Thanks Mr. Haley for these amazing words of wisdom.

Sunday, February 10, is the 21st anniversary of Alex Haley’s death.  He died in 1992 at the age of 70 years old.  He definitely made an amazing mark on the world with his books which were turned into movies.

I remember watching “Roots” on television.  I think it was the first time that the story of slaves coming to America was so vividly depicted.  I was surprised and shocked and saddened to realize that this was our country’s history.  There were several scenes which were very hard to watch.

Having said that, I was fascinated with Kunta Kinte and how brave he was despite his circumstances.  And, Kizzy, Mathilda, and Chicken George among many others were  wonderful as well.  They all truly knew how to make the best of awful circumstances, or at least try to do so.   This story was based on Alex Haley’s real family.

At the time of Mr. Haley’s death, I was working at a small newspaper as a general assignment reporter.  We were located in the county where he had a home so there was a definite tie to our community.  In Knoxville, Tennessee, there was an auction of his property, books, and many other things.  I had the privilege of going and covering it for my newspaper.

I will never forget seeing the real Chicken George’s hat, or the notes that he and Malcolm X made on the transcript for “The Autobiography” or seeing artwork that he had collected.  Unfortunately I don’t remember all the details but do remember feeling what an honor it was to see so much amazing history.

I still have the program of the items that were auctioned.  One of Mr. Haley’s sons were there as well and I got to meet him.  What an amazing experience for a girl only two years into her career.  This experience has stayed with me.

A few weeks ago, I watched “Queen” on BET.  This movie was based on Mr. Haley’s book about his grandmother’s line.  It starred Halle Berry as Queen.  She did an amazing job.  Her character had a slave owner as her father and a slave as her mother.

This movie was inspirational yet sad at the same time.  Being of a mixed race, she never fit in anywhere and lived her entire life trying to find her way.  This to me was heartbreaking and hard to watch at times.  She was treated poorly and ridiculed for something that she had no control over.

I know several people who are of mixed race.  I hope that their path is better than Queen’s was.  I hope that they are accepted and loved for who and what they are.  And, I pray that we as a society can truly love, respect and honor those who are different from ourselves.

During this Black History Month, I want to honor, praise, and thank all of the people who fought for the rights of others.  We all matter and all are created equal.

I hope and pray that we never forget that!  As my sister said, this is all of our history.