“My mother was a single parent, working as a maid to raise my middle sister Roni, Renee and me. We grew up poor, dependent upon welfare and other handouts to make it. We grew up in a housing project called Morningside Homes, in Greensboro, NC. I became aware that I was poor at the start of school integration, as I was bused to predominately white schools, K-12. Several of my friends were white, and instantly I noticed a difference between their lifestyle and mine. Although my mother created a loving home for my sisters and me, the reality of what it meant to be poor slapped me in the face every time I left our two-bedroom apartment. Danger lurked around our home. In fact in 1979 the KKK visited our home and shot five Communist worker party members dead. My mother witnessed the entire scenario from our kitchen window.” — BM