From The Grio —  Let the record show, Joseph “Son” Robinson was an uppity Negro. In 1933, it near about cost him his life. Son wasn’t a schoolboy as his nickname infers. He was grown, 34 years old, and he was my grandfather.

After a few years performing in a traveling minstrel show, my grandparents made their home in Osceola, Arkansas. Granddaddy worked as a porter in a drug store and dug graves at the old Violet Cemetery. For the most part, he lived a forgettable life. Slow to anger, eager to forgiveness, he took each day as it came.

“It all started at the drug store,” Aunt Geraldine told me. “The owner’s name was Massengale, I think. And he hired Daddy to look after his customers.”

Her voice softened down to a whisper as she began to recount the tale.

“Son! I need you to hitch this horse!” a customer shouted over the crowd.

The Massengale pharmacy was busy that day. “I’ll get to you as fast as I can,” granddaddy replied.

“Sir,” the customer said, reminding granddaddy that they were anything but equals.

“Yessir,” he responded.

Still not satisfied that granddaddy had been sufficiently submissive, he grew angry. “You’ll do it now!”

Before Son could explain who was first, second or third, the customer drew his horsewhip and snapped it. Granddaddy caught the leather strap with his gravedigger’s hands. “I don’t want no trouble now Mister,” granddaddy said staring him in the eye.

“Uppity ni**er!” the man yelled.

And there it was.

In 1933, the word “uppity” meant nothing short of a death sentence for African-Americans living in the South, and my grandfather had been publicly marked for death. My grandparents heeded that warning, packed up and hit the railroad line north before the sun went down.

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  • pink

    Why ru showing a pic of President Obama and Michelle on this blog?!? This article has nothing to do with them. First of all they were not born in 1933. This blog article is a bunch of BS!!

    • Bunny

      Because the media has referred to Obama many, many times as uppity. Duh

    • Me27

      You should read the entire article before commenting…

    • Whatever

      The pic is sometimes indirectly related to the article. *blank stare*

      It could NEVER be that serious unless your name is sasha or malia… get a grip

  • Andryce76

    The article above ties into the first lady being booed at NASCAR
    And Rush lImbaugh saying the reason it happened because the first lady is uppity
    Even though the article is talking about 1933
    It’s the same thing today in 2011

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Why are you giving Rush Limbaugh so much power? Who cares if he or those that booed her at Nascar think Michelle Obama is “uppity”? It is not 1933 and they can do nothing to her. Nothing at all. In fact, that they think she is uppity and cannot do a damn thing about it hurts the racists to the depth of their core. It is a stark reminder of how much power they have lost.

    People really need to stop giving white people more power over them and their emotions.

    • EverydayPeople

      Well Rush L. has his own audience…and they may believe that the Obama’s act “uppity”
      and since we try to claim that this country is not so much about race anymore….it sounds more like a class issue. Maybe his working class audience may not take kindly to “uppity” folks….. Here I am thinking the Grio was white folks…lol

  • The Comment

    I wear the ‘Uppity’ label with much pride. Not my fault they can’t step up their ambition aka G.A.M.E!

    • EverydayPeople

      You know…lol I was thinking there is a large group of so called black folks these days that would luv being called uppity…glad u said that…proved my thoughts right.

      When you read and hear so much bashing by black folks about other black folks that somehow they are just not living up to your level of whatever…lol (really don’t care)
      Rush L. knows what he’s saying and why he’s saying it…the man didn’t get where is by being dumb.

      Richard Pryor said it best ” There is nothing funnier than a stuck up Negro” *he used that other Nword* lol That statement still stands true today…to me….lol

    • The Comment

      Rush got where he is because he is a RACIST 2.0 and caters his drug induced psycho rants to RWOH……racist without hoods. But I guess he speaks your language.

      Your thoughts regarding my comment are generic. Who is not living up to my expectations???? Really? No dear. I’m only concerned about my expectations—that is all I have room for in this life.

      And their is nothing funny about pride.