Witness, memory, autumn


Witness and memory captures that sweet time between summer and winter called autumn. ‘Witness’ and ‘memory’ are also theme words used in an essay about the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture #NMAAHC. Poet Elizabeth Alexander’s piece Can I Get a Witness justified nicely why we need a place to recall our collective memory. Click here to read the full essay.

I was honored to attend the recent museum opening events, September 21-25, 2016 in Washington DC. At every entry point, the museum is filled with our ancestor’s precious objects, lost & found American history, and prideful moments.

#NMAAHC opening day
#NMAAHC opening day

Witnessing the museum was a sacred experience. It brought back nostalgia for the March on Washington. The museum opening was a giant black family reunion. Streets were blocked as busloads of excited folks arrived from Deep South places like Alabama and Tennessee.

For sure, many white and other ethnic cousins were there too! No other museum in the world can boast this kind of gathering of ‘beloved people,’ as Congressman John Lewis called us in his welcoming remarks. This is by far the best place to experience the meaning of multi-generational and multi-cultural. The displays above and below ground moved from slavery to freedom. Expect to witness people of all ages and backgrounds go from tears to joy during the course of a visit. Then, there was soul food. The cafe alone proves why there would be no America without us black folks!


Autumn was THE perfect time to launch THIS museum. It gave everyone a jolt – that this is a new day, a new season. I invite everyone to go. Wear comfortable shoes. Click here for information.

Besides museum and gallery visits, autumn is a time to re-join swimming class at the YMCA. I’m in the kitchen more these days too. I’m inventing smoothie drinks with my new Vitamix blender. I’m also having fun making noodles out of root veggies with a new kitchen gadget.

Here is an excerpt to some my other autumn reflections, posted last year.

“Do you have Autumn rituals? I do. It’s about accepting change in mind, body and soul. Nature changes with each new season. So must we. I believe that we all follow seasonal rituals whether conscious or unconscious that were passed down or learned along the way. I wonder what could be in an autumn ‘tool kit’? What do we need to do to open our hearts for this new season? What do you do to indulge your senses with sights, sounds, and scents of Autumn?” Click here to read more.

How do you do autumn?

2 thoughts on “Witness, memory, autumn

  1. Love, Love, Love this post! Witnessing and memory are integrally connected and so much a part of the African American ethos. My family and I are going to visit the NMAAHC in January; and we can’t wait! Now, as for your sharing with us your love affair with autumn, not only did I read an article that made me remember that fall is a season nuanced with colors, scents and longing, but that it is also a time for endings and beginnings. Reading your article left me actually looking forward to putting on my favorite sweater and making butternut squash soup! How cool is that?! As for your recipes for mulling spices, they have definitely been placed on my to-do list for healing and uplifting scents for our home, mind, body and spirit! Thank you so much for this share!

  2. Hello Zakiyyah, Indeed, witness and memory are part of our African American ethos. You remember that song ‘Can I Get A Witness?’ Thank you for stopping by and sharing your lovely comments. I’m so glad you and family will visit NMAAHC. You will be amazed and will return for more visits, I’m sure. Butternut squash soup–My favorite Autumn soup!Let me know how the mulling spices go! Regards, Sylvia

Comments are closed.