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TAGS: African Americans; Depression; Resilience; Tests and difficulties
LOCATIONS: North Carolina; United States (documents)
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Reflections on growing up African-American; guidance from and a meeting with William Hatcher; the relationship between stress and anxiety, depression, and powerlessness; the practice of constructive resilience.

Why Constructive Resilience? An Autobiographical Essay

by Michael L. Penn

published in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 30:3, pages 9-23
Ottawa, ON: Association for Bahá'í Studies North America, 2020
About: I was born in a small house that had been built by my uncles on a rocky and barren piece of land that my grand-mother acquired by saving the meager wages that she earned cleaning White folks’ houses in North Carolina. Since the land was not fertile, we could not grow upon it anything to eat. In addition, because the land was not yet connected to the city, there was no running water, no electricity, and no inside toilet. We went to the bathroom in an outhouse located down the road.

One day, through our good fortune, a school bus crashed in a ditch on my grandmother’s property. When the city did not tow the wreckage away, my mother told my uncles to right the bus, remove the seats, and make it our new home. We lived in that bus for a few years until a city official came by and pronounced the bus “unfit for human habitation.” He said that we had to move, and that we had to move immediately. Since our family had grown in number, we could not move back into my grandmother’s little house. And so, my mother packed our bags...

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