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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

“Grandma was on the syllabus!”

Read an excellent article about Muriel and her Family by Jacquelyn Blake in Southside Pride in 2004 at

Read an excellent article about Muriel and her Family by Jacquelyn Blake in Southside Pride in 2004 at

By Dallas Johnson

When I started my block club and asked Open Eye Theatre to present a puppet show, Muriel immediately agreed to host us in her yard. When I called to say Madeline Douglas and I wanted to interview her on video, she didn”'t hesitate. When I asked her to be in the Snow Cone Cart skit, she said, “YES!”. Every time I called Muriel, this is how the conversation would go. I”'d say, “Is this an ok time to talk? You sound under the weather”. She”'d respond, “My body”'s not cooperating with me lately, but I can”'t bother with that now. I know you”'ve got something going on, so tell me what you need me to do and let”'s get it done!”.

When I shared frustration that I wasn”'t drawing a lot of people to my meetings and events, she said, “That”'s not how it works! You”'ll start with one or two people and it”'ll grow, one by one by one”. She said she started the walking club by enlisting folks one at a time from Ebeneezer and the Park Ave apartments

Once when I told her I was experiencing self-doubt, she said, “There”'s nothing wrong with self-doubt, because it gives you an opportunity to look things over and to turn ”˜em around, to flip them out on the table and say, ”˜is this really gonna work?”' or, ”˜is this job too much for me? Well, it”'s never too much because there”'s always another avenue…You”'re gonna feel frustrated a lot of times and at the last moment, you”'re gonna be wondering, ”˜Is anybody gonna show? Are they really gonna do what they said they”'re gonna to do?”' As long as you have these feelings, you”'re on the right track. When you stop having feelings, you”'ve distanced yourself from the people and the problem.”

She told me that one of her grand kids took a community activism class in college and was thrilled to discover that her own grandma was on the syllabus to be studied as part of the class.

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