But my mother wanted her children to be educated by nuns and priests all dressed in black, the way it had been done down through the generations with her people. Taught by people who had a firm grasp of how big and awful the world could be.
My mother worked in the white world, but I lived almost exclusively in a black world. I don't think I had ever seen a white teacher until I got to high school.
Perhaps if I knew I would be stranded on an island with but one book, I would choose the Bible. For no religious reason whatsoever, but because of the varieties of stories, which might be useful as the days pass.
It just so happens that I was born and raised in Washington. Had I been born in Chicago or San Antonio, the streets and places would have figured into whatever I wrote. Just so happens that it's Washington, D.C.
Something happened during the 1980s - perhaps the political climate of that time - that caused me to ask how a people would become part of a system that oppresses their own people.
Those of us with this ancient compulsion to tell stories sometimes start with a single kernel of something.