Cornerstone of Survival

LaQuando with Mom, Doris Watkins and Sister, Natasha Bennett

LaQuanda with Mom, Doris Watkins and Sister, Natasha Bennett


Let us begin this article singing ‘We Are Family” by Sister Sledge:

Now, that we have set the stage, let us dive into the subject of family. Webster defines family as descendants of a particular bloodline or a group consisting of a parent or parents living under one roof. Still others define family as a group of people sharing a common experience. Having grown up in the Black Belt in the 80’s, 19 miles from town in rural area Bogue Chitto, Alabama; everyone was family and we gave people over 60 the utmost respect; we called them elders. We would call the good friends of our parents “Auntie” or “Uncle,” and they would call themselves “Sister” or “Brother.” My friends would call my mother, “Mom” and I would call their mother, “Mom.”

Allen's Thanksgiving 2014

Allen Thanksgiving 2014

Lee Family Reunion 2014

Lee Family Reunion 2014










Family was the cornerstone of survival, and we looked out for one another. I remember as a child, we did not have a car, but my Grandmother Fannie’s friend, Hattie Mae, did have a car. We would plan our trip to town, and Hattie Mae would take us with no problem. When someone was sick, the neighbors did not just come by to be noisy, but instead came by to pray.  They would check on the sick and with intentions of lending a helping hand. When harvest time came, people would share their crops. When they slaughtered a hog, you were welcomed to a share. There was always someone available to help with the children. What one did not have, if some others possessed it, they would share. We were poor but when we came together, we were rich.

LaQuanda and Dad, Bryan Allen

LaQuanda and Dad, Barry Allen

It was not until I moved away from home, that I began to hear about hungry and homeless people. Unfortunately, I was familiar with White people killing Black people, but I had never heard of Black on Black crime; we had love for one another.  “/…/ Love your neighbor as yourself” (New Living Translation, Matt. 22:39) were not mere words in a book, but in demonstration. It became ingrained, a natural instinct. We held a consciousness of family that superseded bloodline. Frankie Beverly and Maze said it best with the song ‘We Are One’.

Over the years, I have witnessed individualism and materialism dilute traditional family values and the ideology of Willie Lynch re-designed. I am not insinuating we ever overcame the effects of slavery but we were moving at haste until someone found a new way to divide us.  Let us get back to our family values and quit helping others capitalize from our ignorance.

I am so grateful to have experienced the highs and lows of family. I give a shout out to both sides of my bloodline, and to my extended family for holding it together and teaching family values. Even though we are separated by distance these days, we have been blessed to be able to stay connected. To my extended family thanks for standing in absence of my bloodline, while I am on my journey.


LaQuanda with Son, Kwami

-LaQuanda Simpson

LaQuanda is a vibrant spirit moving to the rhythms of life. She was born in Selma Alabama! She believes freedom was given to her as a birth right! LaQuanda has traveled around the sun 31 times! She has invested 10 years in growing one seed. His name is Kwami Malik Ingram! Her grandparents would say LaQuanda is a good gardener because she listens! Gardening relaxes her mind and purifies her soul, drumming and dancing too! LaQuanda is a recent graduate of Geography Information Science at the University of North Alabama in Florence Alabama! She is an explorer and she loves adventure! Among friends she is better known as Que!







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