by Tasleem Dawud
Greetings Buffalo family. This is a Love Letter.
I often find myself missing the Afro-American community and the cultural love found in Buffalo.
I have traveled, lived and worked in different communities around the country like LosAngeles,Baltimore,the DC area,Tampa and now Atlanta. Although I loved and enjoyed all these places and had great, wonderful times, Buffalo is the city that made me ready for the world. The historical references it is known for and the strong African community presence brings me home again and again.
When you leave Buffalo YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN.
I love to come home for Kwanzaa.It’s my favorite holiday. I especially enjoy seeing family and friends and experiencing seven days of celebration and reaffirmation of who you are….and all the values that Buffalo and family instilled in you.
I have been blessed to experience many phases of my life as a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and now a widow. Life has been good,rewarding and challenging for a little girl of humble beginnings from the Niagara Falls -Buffalo area.
Our home was always an adventure. You never knew who would be there when you arrived from school, like musician extraordinaire Pappy and his sister Professor Kay Martin; my Godfather Al Brisbane one of the many Premier DJ’s at WUFO….; or even being in the presence of one of my heroes besides my parents – Malcolm X! The list goes on and on. For me these people and their ideas were my first trip around the world at least in my head. I too wanted to be someone who motivated my community.
My parents Wayman Diggs and Lailah Diggs were great parents.They taught us about our great and illustrious history.My father would always say “Fame is Family name.” He said we were all born famous because we had a family. I loved that and never forgot it.
You can imagine our amazement when he told us as that Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the first independent Black denomination in America, was our relative.We always stood, fought and strived for the humane and excellence of our people.In our time as a members of US and the Black Panther Party, we knew Black Lives Mattered! As young people we fought for civil rights and started the free breakfast programs and medical services for the community.
So many people nurtured and influenced me as a young person and still touch my life, like the late Mrs. Marie Harris who took me to audition at the Studio Arena to tryout for a scholarship and I won! There was her daughter Gail Harris, my best sisterfriend and my children’s Godmother; Mrs Ora Lee Lewis Delgado, the first businesswoman I ever met (she was so dynamic!) But most all my regal mother who was always there steady and ready. There are so many to mention and acknowledge.
I thank you all so much for making me ready for the world and I pray that in the future that the musical ensemble Imani….that used to perform around town and at the Revilot can one day bring you a stellar performance once again!
I LOVE you and am so proud of the Afro-American community of Buffalo!!!.
Until the eclipse of the Covid and my return home, may God bless…as He provides and protects. The Ancestors are watching….Ashe