Over the next month, Enough Pie will highlight details about the elders’ stories on social media. Limited edition signed copies of Tales from the Manor season one are available to purchase online for $25. During the month of May, unsigned copies of the book are available for $15. Proceeds from the book sales will go towards publishing season two.
“Story-telling has become a beautiful form of preserving the real-lived experiences of our neighbors in African American communities on the Charleston Peninsula. Without stories like those shared in Tales from the Manor, we would lose the foundation of our community of which it was built. Time can quickly change our environment, but preservation helps us honor what existed before the change.”Thetyka Robinson, Enough Pie’s Interim Executive Director
To celebrate this milestone, please enjoy the words of our dear friend Dr. Ade Ofunniyin, affectionately known as “Dr. O”, who transitioned in October 2020.
Tales from the Manor Foreword by Ade Ofunniyin, PHD
Reading through the tales of some of the residents at Joseph Floyd Manor, I saw familiar faces, heard voices that I knew, revisited feelings and places that I believed were gone from my memory and my heartstrings. Like a few of the residents, I was born on the Eastside of Charleston in a house, and I was birthed by a midwife. Like some of the residents, I was born in the early1950’s, a time when southern cities like Charleston were still segregated, and black folk were anxious to leave in pursuit of a “better life” for themselves and posterity.
As I read the stories, I recalled my own experiences with prison and failure, lost and restored love, familiar games that I played as a child growing up on the Eastside. I remembered a time when I played in the same wooded areas and walked along the same railroad tracks and the little creek that runs behind Morrison Drive. It was a Charleston where James (chapter 5) declares that “there was no trouble back then. It was like a community.” Pause and ponder, can we ever return to that time?
What I come away from these rich narratives feeling is a sense of being “reconnected” to memories of a past that I did not remember. For that I am grateful. I am alarmed by the many changes that have occurred in our “holy city.” I am dismayed that residents of Joseph Floyd Manor have been marginalized in their city. It is disturbing that their outreach into the community is largely centered around their home and benches situated behind the building. Like so many others, they have become strangers in their own hometown.
There are not many who live in Charleston these days that hold the same kinds of memories about Charleston, a city noted for its recollections of its past. To many of the residents of Joseph Floyd Manor, the people who are new in Charleston are strangers. While Charlestonians pride themselves on “good old southern hospitality,” not many are happy with the rapid gentrification that is occurring in downtown Charleston and neighboring communities.
The golden nuggets that I walk away with are the sense of accomplishment and “overcoming,” recognized and displayed by the interviewed residents. This sense of resolve that clearly signals that no matter what happens; I will keep moving forward and be thankful for the goodness that life is. I commend the residents and staff at Joseph Floyd Manor for reminding us about who we are and how our city lives in their memory.