February 17, 2021

The Annie Story: When did slavery end?

It’s important to remember the past so that we do not repeat it!

Last March 2020 I was fortunate to be in the USA and was able to visit my 92-year-old father just before Covid rendered that temporarily impossible. I was also fortunate to meet one of his caregivers, Annie Johnson and we struck up some conversations which led to a series of interviews I’m now posting online.

 I’m releasing these recordings in conjunction with African American History Month 2021, which occurs every February since 1976 as a celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. I hope that it will be heard worldwide and remind us all of times gone by, yet not forgotten!

It’s only fitting that these interviews come out now, as the 2021 theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States. Subsequent to the tumultuous events from George Floyd to the election Kamala Harris, I invite you to listen to the recordings.

Annie was born in Granada, Mississippi in 1949 and lived in Missouri, Michigan and in Minnesota as well as in Germany, the UK and Japan. 

This honest and poignant narrative is told by Annie Johnson exemplifies how leadership is not just a corporate concept. Annie’s attitude, strong will, courage and self-respect are testimony to true leadership, even at her young age! Annie was a sharecropper’s daughter, growing up in the southern part of the USA. She generously shares memories with me from her childhood back in the late 50’s, early 60’s, the struggles she and her family overcame to survive, and how she had the spirit to tell what was right from wrong!

Annie asks the question ‘When did slavery end?‘ These stories have never been heard or told until now.

Please feel free to write to me at anniestory@leaderlikeyou.com and share your thoughts, comments and stories linked to BHM.

Thank you for following LLY!

Feedback from a listener:

Robert thanks for sharing this story. It is both sad and beautiful. There is so much of black history that has remained silent and people have been burdened and ashamed by the past but as evidence in your interview— sharing provides relief and much needed context. People are resilient but they should not have to be silent. 

There is a great book by Isabel Wilkerson called warmth of other suns— when I read it a few years ago it she’d so much light on my family history that was never spoken about. Ms Wilkerson’s provides deep research to bring her wonderful and sometimes haunting stories to life. Like so many you realize that to still be standing despite much adversity and to hold your head up—it’s an all too important triumph that should be celebrated!

Thanks for the story and help to destroy the shame of people’s lives that shouldn’t be shameful but passed down so people understand the past and how people have struggled and triumphed to move forward

Greg T. (Chicago)