I am from a long line of black people that made their way despite the odds. They used what was given to them to create better lives for their families and those around them.
Two Summers ago my sister recommended that I “sell something”. The idea was a good one but I didn’t just want to sell anything. I wanted what I was doing to have meaning. My writing already had a purpose and so I wanted whatever store I had to do the same. I started doing some research and kept the idea in the back of my head. Months later I was asleep and the name Heywood-Roper popped in my head. It wasn’t new, they’re names I’ve known all my life. Heywood is my father’s mother’s maiden name and Roper is my mother’s last name. Mr. Heywood and Mr. Roper were two remarkable men that had the same principles. They left a strong legacy of hardworking, educated men and women on a foundation that they built in times of uncertainty.
I knew little of my father’s family until around high school so I asked my grandmother a little about her father and his beginnings. Alexander Heywood was a poor black man from Annotto Bay, St. Mary, Jamaica. He went to an auction to see what it was about and ended up making the final bid on 15 acres of land and a house for which he paid 30 pounds. She said some recollections claimed that he returned with the money in a brown paper bag. According to my grandmother, at the time of his death, his only debt was one hundred pounds. He left a will to his children with over two hundred acres of land to do something.
When you talk about black families you talk about the values and principles they instilled. What we teach our children is important, especially about our history. How are you building on your black legacy? How are you developing and nurturing a mindset conducive to building generational wealth? In addition, how are you breaking generational curses and changing the narrative around mental health in our families?
Whether you are building a family or business, you are an integral part of the history of our people.
As an immigrant living in the US, it is important to create, build, and maintain our legacy. We are seen as African-Americans despite being part of the black diaspora and so our struggle and triumph is all one of the same. We have had our own experience with racism, colorism, and the many ills of a colonial legacy. We are not exempt from the systemic racism in this country despite our country of birth.
My writing and small business are geared at changing my story and maybe the story of my own children. Entrepreneurship isn't easy. Starting from scratch is one of the hardest things but the building and mistakes will be worth it in the long run. There is so much to learn and do and I am happy I am able to use my creativity and build something for me and my family. As we all work to collectively dismantle the systems of oppression, by doing our part, we are building an unmatched legacy filled with pride.
Ps. Remember to keep fighting for black lives and for justice.
How are you creating YOUR black legacy?