Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us

(Article 11 – The Ice Breaker)
It was three years before the ending of the nineteenth century, as this young infant opened her eyes, to see the light of the world, outside of her mother's womb.  The month, the day, the year, February 27, 1897, and her birth herald something new, something, which had not happened before, was about to take place.   A seed had been planted in this baby, who would later become a woman that would cause her to seek the expression of her God-given gift, on  stages outside of her own nation of birth.

What would you do, if you had been given something extraordinary that made you stand out?

Born in the state of Pennsylvania, in a family whose father was self-employed, and whose mother had the opportunity of attending the Virginia Seminary and college in Lynchburg, Virginia, the young girl grew up with a love for music.  It was a special innate gift, a seed that had been laid before she was born into the world,  which would define her life.  Her voice was unusual and began to manifest itself soon,  and her aunt ,who had noticed this peculiar gift, convinced her to join the church choir–– she was only six years old.  It was unusual, this Contralto voice, significantly different from other voices.  Peculiar, because this contralto voice set her apart from others, not only in her race, but across all races of people.  Unaware of the role she would play on the world's stage, the lively young girl, who loved to sing, stood on the side of her aunt singing duets and travelling wherever her aunt would take her, singing songs of inspiration.
It was her aunt,
     Who influenced her childhood career,
     Who contracted venues such as the YMCA, or concerts at local churches, or local community events,
     Who made sponsors  aware of her voice for certain special events they sponsored.
Three weeks before Christmas, tragedy struck. Her father was accidentally hit over the head while working. It was an accident, which came with complications that would demand his life a month later, and the young woman, who was now twelve years old would be left fatherless, along with her two younger sisters.

My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall.
You'll hear the trumpet sound,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the starts begin to fall. {1}

Her mother, left with three daughters to bring up, had no time to mourn the loss of her mate.  She moved into the home of her father and mother-in-law, who themselves had already impregnated the history book with their new beginning.  Benjamin Anderson, born before the Civil War, was a freed slave and the first Black African- American to move into a neighborhood in South Philadelphia.
It was her grandfather;
     Who vaccinated her with the vaccine of equality,
     Who through the daily doses of self-esteem he poured into her character, built up her self-esteem,
     Who opened her eyes to see the significance of the gift she had been given,
And The Ice Breaker with the contralto voice was born.

Can't you see her People?

See the young girl being prepared to go on the world stage to change history!
See the young girl as her grandfather prepares her mentally to greet the world!
See her as she sits at his feet, and he imparts in her the ability to stand with the wind against her face!

The hypothesis that Africans had limited brain capacity was a theory, which circulated for years throughout the scientific community of the United States. That the Negro lacked the ability to take care of himself was one of the main reasons for the continuation of slavery in the Southern parts of the United States. Even though the Negro spirituals, which were born out of  captivity and imprisonment in the South, were beginning to become known, no one had thought that a Negro could sing classics, or sing in another European Language.  That feat was considered impossible––that is until The Ice Breaker came along.

With the passing of her grandfather, one year after her mother had moved in with her and her sisters, finances were sparse in the family, and The Ice Breaker knew she would not be able to attend high school, or take those music lessons she so desperately needed.
     What do you when your lack of money stands as an obstacle on the road of your destiny?
     How do you deal with the mental anguish you encounter within yourself, the emotional ups and downs, which throw you into a whirlwind of what ifs?
     Where do you turn when the road does not go any further?

Patricia Pierce-Garcia Schaack

1 comment:

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