- "Preserving and telling my family story" - Patricia Smith Griffin Terry McMullen 49:02
Understanding where you came from, how you became the person you are, and why you value the things you value–those are all reasons my guest Patrica would say it is important to understand your family history. The concept of history is so fickle in a world that changes so rapidly. Perspectives disappear and it is usually a subjective decision on what stories are told. That is the exact reason Patricia values preserving and telling her family’s story so much (as she is doing through her work and podcast- Charity’s Children).
Her story is particularly interesting because it is told through the lens of a matriarchy. It is a story centered around the women in of one of the oldest African American families in Dayton, Ohio. Hearing about the courage, conviction, and character of these black women dating back to the 1800’s is really powerful. But when you get to hear it through Patricia’s poetic and thoughtful narrative, it becomes something even more special.
We covered a good bit in this one, starting with the importance of preserving history, what it does for the individual, and what it does for society. We discussed what made Patricia’s ancestors, starting with her 4th great grandmother Charity, so unique for their time. We also dove into the philosophical aspect her story and if we should focus more on the anger, frustration and disappointment of what her family had to go through (as black people living in America) or the beauty, courage, and inspiration that resulted from them going through it.
Patricia doesn’t have grandkids yet but we explored how she intends to pass down the story to them as well. What are the things she would want the story to say about her? How can she teach children the importance of knowing their history (something it took her a long time to realize herself)? Through all of the discussion, I couldn’t help but notice the overlap between Patricia’s value and what I am trying to do with this podcast. It comes back to the same concepts of trying to be curious, to understand why you are who you are, and to remain humble by appreciating all the people who paved the way in front of you.