When I was six years old, my mother bought me a miniature China Tea Set--cups, saucers and teapot--made of matching imported China, unlike the unmatched China sets we used at mealtime. When I opened the China tea set, I loved the look and feel of the cool smooth surface, but as my fingers glided over it, I had no idea of its significance to my life and the value it would be to my mother's homeschooling plans--my global education, a college scholarship and professional success.
The year I received the China tea set, 1955, was the year Rosa Parks went to jail for starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
At the age of six, I was vaguely aware of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. I did not hear of the civil rights activists or the Civil Rights Movement from teachers in my segregated school. My teachers seemed wary of such discussions. I later learned from my parents that the teachers may have been warned not to talk about the Civil Rights Movement for fear that they may start trouble among the student body.
Thurgood Marshall (center) Brown v Board of Education
I learned about Jim Crow laws, theCivil Rights Movement and the names of civil rights activists like Rosa Parks from hearing their names in conversations between my mother, father and Bigmama when they talked about current events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Brown v the Board of Education.
Rosa Parks Anti-Rape Activist
At the time, though, they probably had no idea of Rosa Parks' involvement in the protection of black women from rape and lynching. I didn't fully understand what Jim Crow laws were. I just knew they were bad for black people. And I knew Rosa Parks had something to do with fighting Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws affected everything about our lives and the schools I attended until I graduated from high school; and later getting in college. But Jim Crow laws did not affect the global education my mother presented to me with my China tea set and other tools, like meditation, which she discovered and adapted to her global education. My mother would use that China tea set to teach me about the world outside of Jim Crow Laws, under which my ancestors had lived for nearly a century and my family would live for years to come.
WhenI saw my mother sitting on the porch staring into the distance, almost trance-like, I knew she was in meditation upon something. I learned later that the something she was in meditation upon was me. Living within the circumstances ofJim Crow lawsdid not give a person an excuse to do less than the best they could offer, my mother always told me.
"Even the house you live in," she said. "Make it a home. Make your home the best home you can. Organize it. Keep it immaculate. Decorate it. It's where you live. Respect where you live. Take care of your home and it will take care of you; shelter you, nurture you, be standing when you need it!" My mother understood what I needed to hear and gave freely and loudly. From primary school through college education with a lot of home school in between, my mother yelled her demands and threatened me if I did not do the work. And she never complimented me unless I had shown extraordinary skill at something. There were no gold stars for mere participation.
"We will find a way of paying for college," she said. "But you have to try to get a college scholarship offer to help out. If you don't study in high school with college in mine, I don't know if we should strain to pay for college. Maybe you won't study in college and our money will be wasted. Maybe you're not college material. But I won't hold that against you, even though I was smart enough to go to college and would have gone if I had had the change."
My mother's global education for me had to do with accepting and appreciating differences in people. And that included my difference from her. But it went much further. She accepted the way other people lived, even if she didn't approve of their lifestyle. "I do not expect others to let me tell them what to think," my mother said. "Listen but make your own decision based on what you know. And do not follow or be bullied into going into a certain direction just because others do. Do not be afraid of thinking for yourself. And, likewise, do not bully others into thinking like you." Like you're doing me now, I thought, but had sense enough not to say it out loud. My mother encouraged me to learn a language. She had learned Spanish when she began her supervisory career in food services and wanted to teach me Spanish so that she could practice her language skills before going off to work and giving orders.
In one of our many reference books my mother had purchased over the years, she found items about the Japanese event, The Way of Tea.Sasaki Sanmiis, born in 1893 in Kyoto, wrote the original Japanese classic, Sado-saijiki, which was translated into English in 1960. My mother found translations, which cover Japanese tea tradition throughout the calendar year with descriptions, poetry and The Way of Tea: Reflections. She was fascinated by all of this tradition and ceremony, perhaps because so much of her African and Native American tradition was a mystery to her. Admitting to me that she was probably not saying the words correctly, my mother still enjoyed trying to pronounce of the names and words describing the ceremonies. "I would love to learn to speak Japanese," she said. "That way, I would have a better understanding of these rules of the tea. "Eastern languages are very different from English and Spanish," she said. "It wouldn't hurt, though, if you learned Spanish."
Custom Search: Curious about the Japanese Way of Tea or other customs?
Using my little toy tea set, my mother taught me about the world's fascination with tea, tea traditions, world economies built around tea and legitimate historical political movements named for the beverage, including the Boston Tea Party, one event leading to the American Revolution. My mother especially loved the Japanese ceremonies, but she taught me about all tea traditions and the people who created them.
Traditionally, powdered green tea is used in the Chanoyu, Japanese Tea Ceremony. Matcha ceremonial-grade tea is different from other green and black teas brewed from dried flakes of loose tea leaves or tea leaves manufactured into tea bags. Loose tea leaves or those in tea bags are steeped in hot water and then discarded. The ceremonial tea is ground to a fine power that is made to dissolve in water, which preserves its essence, making its consumption more potent and effective than tea leaves. Although we didn't have the real Japanese tea, we used the tea my mother could afford and the tea she could find. Then, we substituted what we had and we pretended. It is said that using the powdered green tea within the rules of the ceremony makes the five human senses most acute, encouraging high mental concentration, emotional calm and mental composure. In teaching me about tea, my mother substituted my little toy tea service for the traditional Japanese Ceremonial tea set like the Tea Set to the right. My mother and I did not have the powdered green tea for our tea celebrations, but we read about the power of the tea when certain rituals were performed in conjunction with its consumption. This thinking was certainly parallel to my mother's thinking, in that, it led to control of one's behavior through control of one's own mind.
"Thinking about something is good," my mother told me. "But thinking deeply about something is better." She explained that thinking deeply means rolling it over again and again in my brain and examining thoroughly what I was thinking, not to come up with a better answer, but to come up with a better understanding of my answer. That was meditation, the same thing I had seen her doing so many times.
Of course, my mother and I did not have Japanese, Chinese, English or any other exotic tea. We used Lipton Tea because it was cheap and available at the corner store. We emptied the tea leaves into the little tea pot of my China tea set. My mother said the loose leaves made a stronger brew. I didn't really like the taste of hot tea, but I sipped it with my mother--our pinkies pointed toward the sky--because she said I should know about such things. Then, I hosted pretend tea parties for my young cousins and friends. But I didn't bore them with what my mother and I had read about tea, since my friends and I were only drinking pretend tea, not even Lipton, just tap water.
Many times, I saw my mother sitting at her dressing table applying her homemade potions, herbal cosmetics and homemade remedies, some of which involved tea, used teabags and tea leaves.
The essay, The Dressing Table: "I stepped over the threshold into my mother's tiny bedroom, where everything had a place. Framed magazine landscapes hung on fading floral wallpaper. Pillows nestled under a shedding white chenille bedspread. Draped over open windows that formed a perpendicular angle of light in the room, sheer curtains were pulled apart with dime-store ribbons. On a bedside table, my mother conveniently had arranged a reading lamp, writing pad and pencil, old issues of National Geographic and McCall's Magazines, two paperback novels, a current calendar showing June 1959 and a dogged-eared copy of..." From my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's
"Tea is good for the skin," my mother said. "Tea tightens the skin around the eyes." Of course, I didn't care about skin tightening when I was six years old, but I saw her put her feet up, place cold teabags over her eyes in the evening and relax while listening to jazz. My mother learned this technique and many other cheap homemade beauty secrets from her part-Comanche mother, my grandmother, Bigmama, who never looked her age; neither did my mother; and neither do I.
My mother's teas usually were not special herbal teas; but regular tea from the corner market. Sometimes she mixed the brewed tea with other ingredients like cucumber, making herself an eye cocktail of tea, cucumber and aloe gel, which she kept in the refrigerator. Literally, our kitchen was a lab on more than one occasion. Most people today, don't have time, patience or knowledge to make their own cosmetics, but the more I learn about the industry, the more I am relying on my mother's facial recipes.
For all of you lazy folks out there, me included, I found a substitute, Hawaiian Green Tea Gel, and, unlike my mother's tea and cucumber eye treatment, this one comes ready to use from the manufacturer. To keep it ultra fresh, though, keep the eye gel in the refrigerator.
"You can find meaning where there seems to be none," my mother said. "People have been doing that throughout time. Whatever you're doing, do it the best you can. Give it your full concentration. Challenge yourself with every little thing that comes your way; think of them as opportunities. Do all you can with whatever it is that you have or that you are doing." My mother made ordinary things, like sipping a cup of tea, into something special. Finding meaning in the simplest of things, she taught me how to make my life rich without reference to money. "What does all of this tea talk have to do with me," I asked, watching my mother prepare my lesson. "Japanese tea ceremonies have nothing to do with us."
Littie saw differently, though. "You're wrong," my mother said. In spite of Jim Crow laws, segregated education and biased racial designations, my mother always said black people comprise all people, whether here in the United States or other parts of the world. "To learn about black people, you must learn about all people. If you leave someone out of your study, you leave out part of yourself."
~~~~~~~~ My Mother ~~~~~~~~
Littie Nash was one of the great thinkers. She did not waste compliments on me. She reserved accolades to celebrate real accomplishments, not just because I dragged myself out of bed before noon on Saturday or because I made an 'A' on my report card. "Some things you have to do," she said. "And those things pass, not without notice, but without an all-day hullabaloo."
To support me, Littie sponsored my piano, ballet, tennis and swimming lessons, dance performances, recitals, literary and classical music club memberships, summer camps, school trips and science fair exhibits, still managing to squeeze out of our tight budget money for the dentist to install braces on my teeth.
It took a great deal of courage and imagination during the era of Jim Crow laws for my mother and other parents like her to give me what she thought I needed. Jobs for African Americans were scarce and good jobs were mostly nonexistent for them members of our community. Black men were economically and politically marginalized and black women were publicly disrespected on a routine basis.
Read more about my mother in my blog post,: Great Mothering in Jim Crow's World. Also check out another of my blog posts about the significance my mother placed on a college education. She believed that ignorance was an illness that could only be cured by learning. "People can learn on their own if they know how to read," she said often. "You do not have to go to college to learn and be educated. But education may help you get a better job." Read: College Education Was my Mothers Plan.
I write about my mother in my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's, began in the 1990s when I was writing a column for Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapers, stories from my childhood in the era of Jim Crow laws. Robin Fruble of Southern California said, "Every white person in America should read this book! Sunny Nash writes the story of her childhood without preaching or ranting but she made me realize for the first time just how much skin color changes how one experiences the world. But if your skin color is brown, it matters a great deal to a great number of people. I needed to learn that. Sunny Nash is a great teacher," Fruble said.
A managing editor at Texas A&M University Press, Mary Lenn Dixon, saw the merit in compiling these stories into a book and approached me about creating a manuscript of selected articles for review and eventual publication. What a break! I agreed. And the book was born. I am now completing a second book for this Press.
Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's is recognized by the American Association of University Presses for its value to the understanding of U.S. race relations. The book is also listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg in New York and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida.
A free book campaign with social media promotions and online press release submission gives online browsers a look at your online presence, eBooks, services and public speaking schedule, allowing you to sell products online and in person.
Sunny Nash's First Newspaper Column "Yesterdays" Knight-Ridder Bryan-College Station Eagle
My syndicated newspaper columns in Knight-Ridder and Hearst newspapers gave birth to my book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s. My first column, Yesterdays, led to an offer from Hearst's Houston Chronicle to contribute on a regular basis to the column, State Lines, in the Sunday edition, Texas Magazine.
In the 1990s, in Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapers, I wrote stories from my childhood with my part-Comanche grandmother, my parents, relatives, friends, teachers and others about the impact of Jim Crow laws on our housing, employment, education, entertainment, health care and the Civil Rights Movement on our everyday existence.
Civil rights were real issues in the daily lives of African Americans, but the denial of these civil liberties did not prevent us from building strong values, work ethics and educational goals. Any degree of happiness within our black families and communities was and remains a difficult concept for some modern readers to understand. But there was happiness and those are the stories that launched my career as a professional writer and published author.
I had no idea my personal account of civil liberties would garner national interest.
Rosa Parks Booking Photo
I expanded my personal account of events surrounding my childhood to include the civil rights issues that affected my family, such as the 1954 Brown v the Board of Education, 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King; 1960 Woolworth Sit-ins; 1961 Freedom Riders; and countless other known and unknown activities across the nation. My little stories became a window into which many American mainstream viewers could observe civil rights issues from slavery, through Jim Crow and black codes, the Civil Rights Movement, school desegregation, busing and the development of race relations in America.
With reader interest growing and fan mail mounting from national distribution, a managing editor at Texas A&M University Press, Mary Lenn Dixon, approached me about creating a manuscript of selected articles for review and publication into a book. What a break! Of course, I agreed. The book was born and so was my career as a published author. Now, I'm in the business of book signing, speech making, web branding and online advertising.
After publication,Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s was selected as a resource for understanding U.S. race relations by the Association of American University Presses. As a result, some authorities consider me a leading author on race relations, quoting me in articles and reference books, and including my work in anthologies. All of these honors count when it comes to a book campaign, which should include appearances to speak and sign books as well as social media promotions.
Today, instead of writing a column, I am a blogger. Print newspapers and other printed periodicals are rare these days, due to Internet technology and the enormous increase in browsers and viewers reading online. Many of my favorite hangouts, bookstores, are out of business. I do miss the old days. But not so much that I let the romantic memory of them keep me in the dark ages. Growing professionally means changing with the times. And the times, they are a-changing! It did not take me long to realize a blog could serve the same purpose as a column when it comes to collecting and organizing your writing. In fact, there are online publishers that can convert your blog and into a book or eBook.
With an Internet connection, you can place your talent and skills along side others for little or no money. There is online competition, I admit. Online competitors vie for browser dollars. ?Remember, the best online marketing strategies MUST include engaging writing for the human reader as well as the search engines. No amount of sophisticated technology can replace strong writing skills. And poor writing cannot be hidden behind behind a wall of special effects and production music.
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The written word in the form of a film script is still the secret to the hit movie. Like a hit movie, your advertising text needs to have a good storyline to fill theater seats. Authors can learn a few tricks from successful movies using YouTube video ads to market big movies. Go to Youtube and find a movie trailer for any new cinema release. Movie trailers, playing now as a YouTube video ad, are produced especially for the Internet. Publishers and authors are doing the same thing. I am even trying my hand at this online marketing device. The simplest way to produce a book trailer is to:
Another aspect of the YouTube video ad is promotion of your Internet spot. Right there in the YouTube window, there is a share button allowing you to share a YouTube video link with your social media followers. When you share your YouTube video link on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media, ask your social media followers to share the YouTube video link of your book trailer with their connections.
A more sophisticated method of producing a YouTube videobook trailer is the use of still images, a voice over, background music and video. This method may take some professional assistance. However, the impact may be greater if executed properly. If you don't have a YouTube video channel, at least sign up for a YouTube account so you can start previewing videos others are producing and get in on the rising tide. You already know your story and how to construct and tell stories. If you are still hesitant, there are books, courses and guides on the market to teach you the techniques of telling your story. These educational resources also teach you how to make the best use of your equipment when shooting your video. Editing and rendering in the proper format for a YouTube upload are other skills you will need.
Your imagination is your only limitation.
The best way to start producing book trailers and other YouTube video ads for a book promotionis to get started. You can do it. Remember, YouTube is a social media community connected to other social media networks. Go ahead. Get them talking about your book.Below is one of my book trailers.
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To create a book promotion, begin with a social media campaign using your very own social media networks. The idea is to get people talking about you and your book. Those people become your target audience. Giving my target audience an understanding of what you have to offer also leads to public speaking engagements, placing you in front of live audiences that will spend cash for your book and see you as a consultant or writing coach. I had no idea I would start public conversations about Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Martin Luther King with my column and book. You would be surprised how you too can target a niche audience for your writing.. In my own case, many viewers now are beginning to realize that history is not so distant and they are seeing that history is teaches.
Start the marketing process for your ideas and your book with your social media network. Facebook friends, Twitters followers, LinkedIn connections or social media contacts can be your initial target audience made of specific individuals who have a knowledge or you, an interest in you and trust what you write. This is an advantage you can use to market and sell products online.
Social media promotion has changed how we sell products online.
Create groups within a social media circle to target friends, followers, connections or fans for press release distribution and YouTube video ads. Research the Internet for other social media and professional networks that feature the types of books, services and products you have for sale. Forum posts are also helpful, especially a forum that will permit you to include your website link.
I use social media to help in marketing my traditionally published book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press), about life with my grandmother. When the book was first released the publishing industry was just beginning to adjust to the new digital age. Now that the adjustment seems to have been made, I have begun my online marketing. Now on Amazon in both Kindle digital reader and print versions, marketing has been made easier for my new target audience, many of whom read books only on online platforms.
You probably have prestigious literary contributions and awards that you can incorporate into social media promotions and a press release. Look through your old portfolio and find something you can use in promotional copy. Even old stuff can be dusted off and paraded out for a new look. Social media connections will get a closer look at you for a greater appreciation for what you have to offer. In addition to holding valuable marketing material, that old portfolio may hold valuable ideas you may have forgotten about or had not considered before as book material. In reviewing my old portfolio, I found enough resources to write a book about one of my favorite historical subjects--Rosa Parks, the real women behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I wonder howsocial media would have affected Rosa Parks, Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights Movement. This is a subject with which I am extremely interested. Write for yourself, then the human reader and last the search engines. Press releases are to be written in the third person. Pretend you are writing about someone else you greatly admire. YouTube video ads can be in the third person or take a personal account approach. Either way, get started. Then sit back and enjoy the rewards.
Sunny Nash is the author of Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's(Texas A&M University Press), about life in the with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement. Nash’s book is recognized by the Association of American University Presses as essential for understanding U.S. race relations; listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York; and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida. Nash is also a producer, photographer, blogger and a leading writer on race relations in America--writes books, blogs, articles and reviews, and produces media and images on U.S. history and contemporary American topics, ranging from Jim Crow laws to social media networking, using her book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's, chosen by the Association of American University Presses for its value to understanding of U.S. race relations, to relate experiences about life with her part-Comanche grandmother.