| Melvia F Miller's
" To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better
---whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived."
~Quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson
MY STORY (...in brief )--
From the time I was in Elementary School, I found that I could express myself in writing--much better than most in my grade level.
I began writing short stories, poems, articles and papers. I seemed to have a natural talent for it...which I attribute to my dear sweet mother Elizabeth. She was the original story teller in our family, but as a Black woman in her day...she never had the opportunity to become published.
As I went thru school, I always did well when asked to write something...a report for Science, or an essay for English class. Once in the 9th Grade, I wrote a story that was so enjoyable -- my teacher had me read it to all the other English classes.
RACISM WAS RAMPANT BACK THEN:
When I was in Jr. High & High School, my Counselors would ask me:
"Melvia --what do you want to do as a career, when you graduate from H.S."
My response was always--
"I am going to be a book writer--and doctor."
And I know you will recall how racist and prejudice they were back then...
America was a strong-hold for the KKK and other horrible acts of racial prejudice and injustice.
* SO HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THEY SAID TO ME...
"Well, since you are a colored girl-- you should try to find a job,
maybe consider getting a trade...like a Secretary"
I never paid any attention to them. That was not my dream.
I continued to repeat my big dream to those so-called school counselors...
but because their minds were clouded with racial stereotypes, it was difficult for them to imagine
how a "colored girl from Middletown" could have such *high-falutin'* ideas.
The worst counselor I had was at the HIGH SCHOOL.
She tried to argue me out of MY DREAM to become a famous book writer--- and doctor.....
BECAUSE OF MY RACE & SKIN COLOR.
She said things like:
"That is probably too much for a colored person to try to achieve...
Writing takes a very special talent and training...."
--blah, blah, blah!
Even though they saw I had high grades...participated in Cheer Block, Health Club, Spanish Club---
and I ran for COUNCIL election...
(and they cheated me out of it)---RACISM clouded their good sense.
SOME OF THEM just wanted to keep a good sistah down.
LITTLE DID THEY KNOW... my mother was far ahead of her times (a bit of a feminist)--and she told me--
"Ignore those crazy white folks. MOST OF THEM never have meant us much good."
She said--"... You already can write better than most of them.
Don't let other people define who you are or your career."
She also told me on a regular basis that I had what it takes to be what I want to be.
MY DEAR MOTHER was a very beautiful woman-- (the Hallie Berry of her times)...
talented seamstress and fashion designer who had never had many opportunities because of RACISM.
SHE WAS THE BEST!
I JOINED THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WITH MY PEN---
I lived thru a ton of racism as a Black woman growing up in White America. I grew up watching people like...
Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Huey Newton, Shirley Chisholm, Thurgood Marshall, and others.
Their committment to "getting us free" was very impressive to me as a young African American woman.
I wanted to fight back, to solve the problems, to bring everyone to a conference table.
I was very angry about the many injustices that I witnessed and experienced.
I STARTED TO QUESTION:
** Why do Blacks have to live racially segregated? -- "White Only" toilets and water fountains...and such?
** What makes them think I cannot write and publish books?
** Why didn't they teach "Black History" in schools?
** Why don't they print any of my heroes on postage stamps?
In college, I sought answers to the problems of racial discrimination, sexism, and inequality.
Thus, I read a lot of works by philosophers, civil rights leaders, gurus, ministers,
authors, healers, ancient prophets, and similar.
I liked the old adage...
"The pen is mightier than the sword..."
I LOVED READING AND STUDYING ABOUT "Success Secrets"--
ancient wisdom, prophecies, religious principles, and anything motivational.
But in those days, the Black youth also wanted to see some major social changes.
Thus, there were many protests, sit-ins and boycotts on college campuses, of which I eagerly took part.
I did well with writing papers in college and started advocating my own "Black History" programs
...during a time when not much was taught on this topic.
At Ball State University, I wrote a regular column, called --
"From the Back of the Bus"--
for the campus paper.
My column generated a great deal of interest and a large readership.
The times were ripe for my controversial pen.
My column stirred all types of debate and caused students to think about social justice.
**To make a long story shorter---
I began writing for several different newspapers, submitted my poems to anthologies, sent articles to magazines, companies and any agency that would give me the opportunity.
I took several classes in English, poetry, and journalism--which was my undergrad major.
I learned that the "pen is mighty"--- but that proper EDUCATION is the key to the future...the key to success...
and the key to solving many of our social problems.
During my years as a teacher, I found that I got much better results with students when we had an enjoyable working environment.
I used games, group exercises, demonstrations, and let the students prepare questions to ask each other on various lessons.
We did team games, and I sometimes gave out prizes for the top achieving group.
Via these methods the students had a great time, built up confidence and learned to master academics.
I now call my approach..."Edutainment"
Edutainment is a new term coinage, similar to 'infotainment,' that expresses the marriage of education and entertainment in a work or presentation such as a television program or a Web site. The most educationally effective children's programs on television (Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers) could be classed as edutainment.
In other words, why not use music to teach portions of a math lesson? And, if we are teaching Science, we may add in some Black History and discuss famous Black Achievers. Why not bring the class alive with visual aids, posters, films, role playing, games and demonstrations? Or if we are teaching Spelling, we may have a contest to make it more fun.
My character and logo is SUPER SISTAH, whom I created to represent all the dynamic sisters (women) who have helped to improve this old world...women such as: ROSA PARKS, HARRIET TUBMAN, SOJOURNER TRUTH, ANGELA DAVIS, GWEN BROOKS,....and many others, including my dear mother Elizabeth.
Because I hungered for visions of Black achievement while a young girl, I created SUPER SISTAH as a memoriam and fun way to honor these women who have been the MOTHERS and leaders of a better world.
Later, I formulated and developed my own "educational methodology" throughout my graduate school experiences at the Univ. of Mich, where I majored in "Instructional Design" with a minor in "African-American Studies" I use a variety of visual aids, films, games, exercises, and 'hands-on-activities' to help students or seminar participants to better grasp the new material.
Most of my major jobs were related to my writing of documents, plans, brochures, and training materials for large corporations, such as Chrysler and AT& T. I also wrote grant proposals that were funded for several programs and services at colleges.
I became a mother of 2 sons (Malik & Mikal)--- who also write. I raised them in the environment--sitting next to me for years. I had a big desk and Malik had a medium size desk and Mikal had a little desk. I also raised them to enjoy books. Malik writes music and Mikal writes films.
When I began my college career, I entered the "pre-Med" program. But I found that I was more oriented to "preventative care" than to "crisis treatments." So, I began studying Holistic Concepts and Herbalism. I completed several degrees, including one in Holistic Health. I am also a Certified Herbalist. Holistic refers to using a "unified" or "whole" approach to healing or to teaching or solving problems. If one suffers from a disease--the Holistic approach is to improve several areas---- diet, exercise, colon cleansing, hormones, oxygen treatments, massage, spinal adjustments, and so forth... Thus, instead of treating symptoms, in Holistic Health one addresses the root cause that is resulting in the whole problem.
The idea of making Education more holistic greatly attracted me. My emphasis is in making EDUCATION more of a "whole" experience, and that we learn a lot more from each other when we work together. I also incorporate a more "wholistic" approach to education...meaning that we merge the subjects, whereever reasonably possible.
Studies have shown which methods are most effective--and lecturing is at the bottom of the list. Lecturing should be used only in cases where it can be either entertaining or when no other method is workable or appropo. Rather than lecturing 95% of the time, educators should consider using more "group activities" and collaberative learning methods, in order to help their students. Research has also shown that collaberative learning is much more effective than the old traditional styles of teaching...such as rote memorization.
My EDUTAINMENT GAME BOOK is a collection of many of the exercises that I have successfully used in classes and seminars. It is ideal for any instructor or group leader who wants to spice up their workshops or classes.
I have been honored in many ways, invited to appear on numerous TV Shows, at seminars,
conferences and other events to present my creations.
I have used my techniques in a variety of classes, workshops, and seminars.
I find the approach to be highly effective and enjoyable. In each of my books,
I included some of the EDUTAINMENT EXERCISES and games.
RECENTLY I MET THE FAMOUS FILM WRITER...
who wrote the movie scripts for
"The Matrix" and "The Terminator."
She told me that...
"You possess God-given talents to write, because God made you that way. It comes easy to you.
You were born with a gift.... which was placed in your soul many life-times ago. You are one of the ancient scribes."
My novel: "MIDDLETOWN ROOTS" tells the story of the experience of growing up Black.
IGNORANCE is our common enemy...
regardless of race, creed, age, heritage, or color.
Author Melvia Miller is listed with other famous authors on a Writer's Project for Miami Dade College...
You are invited to read some of my books.
FUND-RAISING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE.