America is the home of some 36.5 million African Americans. African Americans live in all parts of the country; the east, west, north and south. Our families go to great lengths to uphold the traditions and values of family life, because there was a time America created laws that made it illegal for African Americans to exist in family units.
Once freed from the shackles of slavery, our slave ancestors spent years looking for their children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, mothers and fathers who were sold at the auction block, or violently separated by plantation owners who traded in Black lives. Rarely were family members found; in general family members were never heard from again.
The African American family picnic owes its origin to the Family Reunion; a time of fun and celebration. Though we remember the past and pain of life in America; the picnic is a time of socializing, networking, fellowship and reflecting on life’s events. We get together and share our lives with one another. In the words of one African proverb: “Life is when you are together, alone you are an animal.”
Far from being animals, Black life in America survived by braking down the physical, mental, social, and spiritual borders that were placed all around them. Without fear of what freedom would bring Blacks infused the secular and the sacred, or the holy and the profane to live in a relationship with one another, being created in the image and likeness of God.
African Americans, that is, Black people in America know God, and fellowship with God and have been doing so before they set foot on American soil. As human beings; it begins with knowing one’s self, and knowing one’s self is to know others and share in their spiritual and material necessities of life.
The family picnic is a time where all become one; as one body we pray, eat, drink, dance, celebrate and uphold our family. We hug, and love one another; in doing so, we fulfill our purpose and give meaning to life for others.