How My Black Single Mother Championed My Success

How My Black Single Mother Championed My Success

In the vibrant and diverse 1990's Hamtramck, MI - a small city surrounded completely by Detroit - my single black mother crafted a unique upbringing that defied conventional wisdom about single-parent households. Her strategies for raising a well-rounded, resilient child were grounded in positive reinforcement, immersive education, and deep cultural pride. The results speak for themselves. If you want your child to be anything like me, here's the blueprint from Ms. Nichols herself.



Me & Mom (2000)

Positive Reinforcement

From a young age, I learned that good behavior and earnest effort were rewarded, not just with material gifts like a PlayStation or an N64 following a good report card, but with experiences that enriched my life, such as trips to Coney Island. This approach instilled in me a strong sense of perseverance and the belief that good things come to those who do right, without resorting to shortcuts or giving up.



Cousin William, Uncle Eddie, and 1-2 yo Me (1989)


Education as Exploration

My mother transformed every day into a learning adventure. Whether it was reading street signs, solving simple math problems, or engaging in physics experiments, she made education a constant, enjoyable part of my daily life. Our frequent library visits and sessions tuned into PBS channel 56 Detroit were not just pastimes—they were fun, interactive learning experiences that shaped me into an informed and curious adult.



Me & Cousins Terrrell, Ismail, & William @ Ismail's Baptism (1999)


Cultivating Strong Cultural Roots

Growing up, the notion of Black Excellence was a daily reality, taught through stories from family, teachings at school, and lessons from church. This robust cultural education taught me the greatness of our heritage and imbued me with a strong racial identity, free from the constraints of victimhood. I learned early on that I am part of a lineage capable of greatness.



Me, Cousin Jackie, Grandma at Marcus Garvey Academy (1996)


Fostering Community Ties

Living initially in a four-family flat where my relatives occupied three units, and later moving to a house bustling with family, I was constantly surrounded by a vibrant community. Annual reunions, birthdays, and just-because gatherings underscored the importance of strong family bonds and introduced me to a wider community of respected and morally upright individuals.



Me @ Hart Plaxa Detroit, MI ( about 1995)


Promoting Independence

Contrary to the stereotype of overprotective single mothers, mine encouraged independence. She resisted solving problems for me, instead urging me to think critically and make decisions about my life, from choosing schools to deciding how to spend my summers. This fostered a sense of self-reliance that has been invaluable throughout my life.



Me & Mom (2014)


Encouragement of Creativity and Resilience

My mother's philosophy on parenting was to nurture creativity and resilience without stifling it. Her mantra, amidst the chaos of raising an energetic child, was often simply, "I think you can do it." This hands-off encouragement allowed me to explore my potential fully without fear of failure.


Through these pillars, my mother not only survived but thrived in her role, disproving myths about single parenting along the way. Her methods weren't just about making do; they were about making extraordinary. And it is from this foundation of love, learning, and legacy that I have built my life, always aware of who I am and where I come from.

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4 comentarios

What a beautiful tribute to your Mother!!!


This is an amazing article I definitely shed a tear 🥲


Dear Jerome,

I absolutely love this tribute to your mom, my friend, and an amazing woman! She is the epitome of strength and resilience. I love that you see that in her and were able to write this piece. Yes, it made me cry because I felt your heart and soul about her.
With love, Willette

Willette Lindsey

An amazing article from an amazing Son. I love you


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