One of my favorite pastimes, especially on dreary Saturday afternoons, is sitting near my dad and listening to his random escapades or life lessons learned while growing up in the Deep South. Most recently he told me about home remedies his mother would use to keep the family healthy, especially since the closest physician was 10 miles away. Plus, my dad’s family would have to get permission from the plantation boss to receive medical care.   

My dad said he was a chronic nose bleeder with terrible headaches. And he used to stutter. To stop his nosebleed, his mother would gather some keys, put them on a string, and hang them down his back. The bleeding stopped nearly instantly. For headaches, she’d wrap leaves from lily flower around his crown and attach it with string. “I’d clear it up, just like that,” my dad said, snapping his finger. 

This one really piqued my curiosity. My dad would drink water from a rusty old cowbell to stop his stammering and bring about his fluency freedom.  Ironically, drinking a tablespoon of castor oil to cure a cold is what he hated most of all because of the taste. “It was nasty, but it worked,” he laughed. 

I can only imagine.  

This is the health issue of UMOJA Magazine. While we don’t have articles about medicinal concoctions that kept our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents healthy in the edition, we have much more.  

Readers will be taken on a wife’s personal and deep journey to have a child of her own. The insightful story is designed to remove stigma and shame often linked to losing a baby in pregnancy through miscarriage or stillbirth ꟷ especially for Black women. Toni Tavita Martinez’s article on ancestral honoring taught me putting oneself first is the opposite of selfish. 

Learn about a crusade underway to have a sanctuary preserving the history of Black culture in food and farming; raise the next generation of activist-farmers; and, support food sovereignty for future communities. 

Dr. Adrienne Hampton, who practices family medicine and aids in immunization counseling, visited with UMOJA to clear up concerns and myths surrounding whether the flu shot is necessary if you’ve had the COVID vaccine and may be considering getting the accompanying booster shot. With flu season at our doorstep, we also provide an article listing some suggestions for foods that will help build your immune system. 

Meanwhile, take a moment to inhale the colorful autumn leaves across nature’s spectacular canvas. Go hiking or take pictures. For me, the simple things, the small delights, leave me with enormous joy.  

Please note that a nationwide paper shortage, coupled with an announcement by USPS that it is slowing down mail delivery service, may result in our subscribers receiving UMOJA sporadically. We will continue at great lengths to provide the type of news that will preserve the past, encourage learning and enhance the life of the community, our community.