This post brought to you by MassMutual. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Mamalicious Maria.
I am excited to join MassMutual in celebrating Black History Month by sharing my very own #JourneyOfYou story of how my family’s history led me to become the person I am today and empowered me to create a legacy for tomorrow.
My journey is not the typical African American one. I am biracial. I am adopted. And my family is White. Yet, I am still a proud Black woman. I may have missed some of the cultural clues most African Americans learned growing up, but I sought them out as I grew up and now I’ve earned my “black” card. I now am creating my own family legacy.
Many African Americans can trace strong family histories back decades or even over a century. I can trace my history back to 1976 when I was born. However, I have been blessed to marry into a family that has embraced me and let me claim their history for myself and of course our children.
The Smith and Adams families have been long-standing members in South and Central FL. The Smiths are descendants of Fletcher and Mary Smith who came down to Central Florida from Virginia around the early 1900’s seeking a better life. They became land owners and worked their own land for generations. They had many children and their children had many children, one of whom was my husband’s grandfather, Johnny Lee Smith.
Though Johnny Lee passed away decades before my husband was born, we have a photo of him on our mantle. It was given to us at the last Smith Family Reunion, as one member of each descendant’s family is entrusted with their descendant’s photo. We never met him but if we look close enough, we can see some of our children’s features in this small photograph. As someone who never met a biological relative (other than my children), recognizing physical traits carried through the generations by strong blood lines is simply amazing. It is a physical reminder that we, my husband, myself, and our children, are part of something bigger. We are part of this larger legacy, and we need to uphold it. I am embracing this legacy with all I have.
I am honored to be a Smith. I am proud to be an African American. And I am pleased MassMutual is taking time this month during Black History Month to recognize the many #JourneyofYou moments African Americans are sharing. They are the people who will help us in our task of Building a Financial Legacy for future generations.