Griot Calling – Our Time Press


The late Boys & Girls HS patriarchal director Frank C. Mickens was the subject of Our Time Press’ first Father’s Day cover story in June 1996. The issue resonated with readers of all ages, particularly those who were Mickens’ cheerleaders. For community activist Baabasurya, the reportage about the author’s father, Daniel C. Green, a World War II veteran, caught the eye immediately.

As a boy growing up in Westchester, Baaba knew and heard of Danny long before I was a thought. Baaba eventually contacted us and confirmed information I knew about my father and added unknown facts to the existing story.

Thankfully, from Baaba and scholars like Professor William Mackey and Dr. John Henrik Clarke learned early in the life of Our Time Press that it is important to incorporate the human element of experience into our form of messaging.

As a footnote to the above, Baaba showed up one day at our former office on Lafayette Avenue and announced that he would be distributing our newspaper in his hometown of Westchester County. For about a year, rain or shine, he took the subway and a shopping cart from the Bronx to Bedford-Stuyvesant every Thursday or Friday to make special deliveries for us. For the last few years we have met Surya online. He assesses his long-term health and shares his thoughts on what should be the community’s priority.
(Bernice Elizabeth Green)

Baabasurya, 88: Organic is the way of life

as Bernice tells Elizabeth Green
From Scarsdale, New York’s Saxon Woods Road to Tuskegee, Alabama, I grew up “in the country” thanks to my grandparents. On land fare, that is.

I attribute my health now at 88 and in those younger years to my experiences growing up with my family in black communities where nature and its bounty were understood and appreciated. Looking back, I see that my family’s lifestyle was an active political statement.

I’ve been a strict vegetarian for more than 30 years. We are what we eat and I think we need to help our people get closer to that knowledge. Good health and nutrition are a daily thing.
Unfortunately, the taste has conquered the five senses and we eat our way towards the disease.
Sugar, salt leads to most diseases of the body.
We must read and study the labels.
My motto is: Organic works, fewer medical bills later.
Yes, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, assisted living are needed. In fact, they are essential, but do you want to rely on them?

Home is the most important place – where the family is. The largest LIVING ROOM is NOT the living room as we know it; It’s the kitchen. I call it the healing center. Here’s where we can build our IMMUN center at home every day: green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, all available at the farmer’s market or some grocers.

We should move away from dependency foods like dairy. Even eggs can have bad bacteria. We can start drinking more water, especially alkaline water. There are many books that lead us to better health and more knowledge about eating natural foods.

The fast food industry is also trying to catch up. The menus feature Impossible and Bean Burgers, as well as Avocado and Hummus.
Much of this nutrition and food education should be taught and practiced at home and in the public schools.

My grandparents and great-grandparents weren’t taught nutrition in college.
We all have family members who came from the country when country was country. Maybe moving to the country is a solution.
But it’s 2022 and I realize that, as the song says, “everything has to change”.
What should change are companies like Monsanto and Bayer. I find it difficult to imagine companies being able to produce seedless grapes. They create food that contains NO food. Corn syrup is in everything. Rapeseed is considered healthy. It’s a no-no. Likewise packaged bleached white flour products.

It’s been three years since I moved to Tuskegee. Before that I was a strict vegetarian. For decades.
What will not change for me is the understanding and knowledge of my parents and grandparents that the immune system can fight disease.
On my family’s property in Westchester there were vines and three different varieties of apple trees; and pear, plum and cherry trees, all planted in 1905 by my father’s father on property he received from the Purdy family. Rhubarb, currants, gooseberry bushes, strawberries and blueberries grew wild in the forests.

Yes, we kept chickens and pigs. We got fresh fish from Tony’s Fish Truck every Friday.
(Note to readers: The first story of Baabasurya’s teenage years in Westchester County appeared in the (2008) issue of Our Time At Home.)


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