Evelyn C. Fortson

African American Author of Women's Fiction


Living each day as if you are fighting to obtain or retain is how we have lived are whole lives here in America. The dream of physical freedom may have been obtained in the literal sense but are we really free! There are so many forces at play that restrict how we move in this world and yet we fool ourselves into thinking that we are free.

When President Barack Obama was elected, I thought to myself that maybe just maybe America could acknowledge the blood on its hands, pay us our reparations and get on with making the American Democracy a reality for all of its’ citizens. Instead, xenophobia was unleashed with a vengeance. White Americans elected a race-baiting con man that played to their fears that life as they know it was ending. The fact of the matter is the White American Empire called the United States of America is declining as every empire in the history of mankind has declined. A new United States of America is going through the birthing pains hopefully to emerge into what it has always promised that it could be. America has paid reparation to everyone including slave owners after the civil war, but somehow the idea of paying descendants of slaves’ reparation is unfathomable. Millions upon millions of dollars have been paid to right wrong except for when it comes to descendants of the enslaved.

Working class Americans are struggling to pay for gas, put food on the table, and find formula for their babies. While millionaires are becoming billionaires. Under the Trump Administration (and I use that term loosely) businesses profit margins soared, and fortunes were made in the stock market. That is the real reason why the conservative white republicans are looking and behaving like Russian oligarchs.

Coming out of this pandemic has been trying because Americans could not unite even in the face of a crisis. We are still divided by race and class. If working class Americans regardless of race could unite and demand equality and equity for every American citizen then our struggles to survive pandemics, recession and depressions wouldn’t weigh so heavily on one group or class.

The struggles that America is facing will undoubtedly hit the poor and working-class groups harder, and unfortunately black and other minority neighborhood will suffer greater hardships. You can see it in the price of gasoline and food. But we African American have been struggling to make ends meet since the first slave ships landed. Our ancestors survived all manners of adversities, and we will survive this one.

Yes, the struggle is real and unfortunately it continues.

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Every parent wants their children to do better and have more than they did. Some of us shower our children with elaborate gifts, big parties, expensive clothes, and accessories. Children of the working class walk around like they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. But what happens when our children grow up expecting a certain level of living and giving that you can no longer afford to give?

My parents worked hard to provide for their children. We would have been considered the working poor, but I wouldn’t call us poor. My mother made our clothes when we were in elementary school and my father worked two jobs. They fed and clothed six kids, added on two rooms on their house and maintained two cars. Sometimes we ate breakfast for dinner and my mom would send us to the neighborhood store with bottles to redeem money to buy bread, but we never went to bed hungry.

We had chores to do after school and on Saturdays. We did not receive an allowance we worked as a family unit. When we were old enough to help our dad on his second job, (cleaning buildings) my sibling and I would go to work with him at night. During the summer I would help my mom clean other people’s houses.

Often times children today don’t see the struggles of the parents. They become self-indulgent materialistic and self-centered people that treat people that have less than they do poorly. Material things become a status symbol that they are willing to do anything to obtain and keep.

Teaching our kids how to save, set goals and survive during hard times is a skill that they will never outgrow. Teaching them to be an individual instead of trying to be like everyone else will make them better people.

Parenting isn’t easy and we all have made mistakes. My only advise is to do the best you can and give/teach you kids things that won’t lose its value.

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Some of us are struck in the past because of mistakes made and some of us can’t fully enjoy life now because nothing compares to what they had.

Coming of age in the eighty’s was a wild ride, and some of us tried everything we could get our hands on. In the words of Rick James, “Cocaine is a powerful drug.” We were reckless and some of us paid a heavy price. I know that it was by the grace of God that I did not suffer too greatly from the consequences of irresponsible choices. I saw beautiful young men and women destroyed by drug addictions. I saw dreams casted aside because of mistakes made.

In my second book, Finally Doing Me! Phoebe became addicted to crack cocaine with her boyfriend Tyrone. Phoebe became struck in the past afraid to move forward because of mistakes made and events of the past. Reading how Phoebe wasted so much of her life struck in the past, unable to forgive herself will hopefully allow others to forgive themselves.

In my first book, Bittersweet, Eloise could never fully enjoy the life that she had because of the past. Eloise experienced something that all girls dream of. She falls in love with the man of her dreams, and he becomes the love of her life. After years of heartbreak Eloise is able to appreciate the past for what it was and allows herself to move forward and live her life.

We all have a past and have made mistakes. We all have loved someone, and probably lost someone that we loved. Some of us may feel that our best days were in the past. Whatever the case may be, we can not become struck in the past. We have to forgive ourselves and learn the lessons that will allow us to make better choices in the future. We have to cherish the past and know that nothing can stay the same. Changes in life is inevitable, change can be hard and even scary. But change is necessary to keep moving forward in life. Change keep life fresh and exciting if you embrace it.

As I get older and weather the storms in my life, I keep telling myself that getting old is not for the faint of heart, and I make myself find something beautiful in each day. I am thankful that God keeps moving me forward even when I’m afraid.

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