(Upper Marlboro, MD) When community members gather to revive their commitment to society, miraculously a powerful revolution takes place. They often rediscover their energy, steadfastness, and enthusiasm. That is what took place during a Black History program recently held at Largo High School sponsored by the Kiwanis’ Key Club of Mitchellville, Maryland. The brunch featured three generations of women; a grandmother Celia Ford, daughter Theresa Allen, and granddaughter Pamela Simonson as the keynote speakers, bringing a multigenerational dimension.
Using the old African American adage crabs in a basket message, as a theme, the popular trio explained to their audience that a struggling crab in a basket is pulled down by other crabs at the bottom.
“Be careful”, emphasized Allen. “Stay strong, resolute, and focused in order to reach the top of the basket,” she continued. The message rang loud and clear as Allen dramatically touched youth as well as adults. She is the founder and past dean of the Long Island Christian Bible Institute, as well as the Vice President of a classical music management company.
“If you think about it long and hard, though, it's not really the fault of the crab,” stated Simonson, a Washington National Opera soprano who also teaches youth music at a Maryland elementary school.
“Consider that crabs do not pull each other down in open sand or sea. It's the basket that poses the problem,” she continued. African Americans concede that they have used the crabs in a basket idiom to describe what they have been doing to each other for centuries.
“One must always look out to avoid being pulled down!’ the elder Ford continued. A retired Registered Nurse, Ford lends her seasoned words of wisdom to conferences, conventions, speaking engagements, and women’s events stressing, obey parents, respect elders, and remain diligent to oneself. The trio were 75, 50, and 25 years old when began touring as a team.
The inspirational speakers and native New Yorkers are also authors and columnists. Their best selling book, Pearls of Wisdom from Three Generations, (Thelemaque Publishing) is a collection of family sayings, famous quotes, and prayers. Their advice column, Ask Pearls of Wisdom® is read and enjoyed by thousands every week. The column offers advice from a multigenerational perspective.
Doris Montgomery, expressed her delight with the crabs in the basket message when she stated,
“This was excellent. We needed to hear the wisdom of our community to help us move forward.” Montgomery serves as the Division One Lieutenant Governor for Capitol District Kiwanis International. Other honored Kiwanis attendees included, Capitol District Key Club International Lieutenant Governor Keadrick Peters, President Michelle Mason, and Kiwanis Advisor Karen Steward.
“We encounter crabs in a basket all the time,” stated Ford. “You would think after all these years we (the African American community) would have gotten the message by now,” she continued. Her granddaughter, Simonson, reassured her grandmother by stating,
“Keep looking to the top of the basket in order to get out or better yet, we shouldn’t even get into the same basket in the first place.”