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Gloria Winans

Gloria Winans

Historian and Celebrator of Diversity

Born: South Sioux City, NE, United States
Heritage: African American

Two things, one is about reading. Read a little bit of everything so you can broaden your thinking. If you see a new publication and book, read it and find out what it is about. I like reading biographies. My second point is about friendship. Friendship has no color. You can make friends with anyone you meet. Friends are honest people with whom you share something in common. You can find friends all around.

Gloria Winans

Historian and Celebrator of Diversity

My name is Gloria Winans. I was born with the name Gloria Hamilton. I’m 61 years old. Does that seem real old? It’s kind of in the middle. I am married now and the mother of two children. I have a boy who is 41 and a girl who is 36 years old. I have two granddaughters. They are 17 and 11.

I was born in Nebraska. When I was in 3rd grade, I lived in South Sioux City, Nebraska. In 1948, there weren’t a lot of African Americans living in Nebraska. I was one of two children who were brown. It was very special to be just two of you in the class. The teacher and other friends were mostly white. We came to Minnesota because of work.

I want you to know how I am brown. My mom and dad are from a different country. Both of them are brown and that’s why I am brown. In order to be brown and not totally white, there are two colors mixing together. My mom’s mom was white. Her dad, he was brown. My dad’s mom was also white. Her dad’s dad was black. So that’s how we all got brown. You get brown because you are mixing together. What kind of brown am I? I would think I’m caramel, or honey. Honey brown caramel.

We call ourselves African-American. That’s because people who are from Africa came here years ago. It wasn’t a pleasant journey. Anyone who is African-American, that’s how they first came long ago. We came across the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean, Jamaica, and Cuba to work. Some came to the United States to work. Do you know what kind of work they did? Lots of ladies washed clothes. Other people cut down trees to make houses. They picked cotton. In the warm climate there were big fields of cotton. Cotton makes our clothes.

What is it like when you’re the only one? You might not have any friends to play with. They might tease you. They might say you look kind of weird. They might not say it, but think it. If you work with your family and talk to them, you will find out it is not lonely, and you can be friends with anyone you want to be friends with.

That’s what makes friends—someone who is friendly and knows how to be kind and how to be honest. The friendship is about what kind of person you are. I love people no matter who they are. It doesn’t matter to me. If someone has a good heart, I will treat him or her right. Friendship doesn’t have a color. Friendship is how you treat other people.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Gloria Winans

The Whole World Around
Honoring Gloria Winans

The whole world around
Is filled with many hues
The whole world around
Is all mixed up like me and you
In order to be brown
Not totally white
There are two colors
Mixing together
My Mom’s Mom was white
Her Dad he was brown
My Dad’s Mom was brown
His Dad’s Dad was black
And that’s why I’m brown
Some of my family
Came from Africa
Across the Atlantic
To the Caribbean
Jamaica, Cuba
To the U.S.A.
To pick cotton
To make clothing
Back when we were slaves
There were only two
In my classroom
When I was younger
Some thought I looked weird
But through talking
With my Mom and Dad
I got through it
With friends who care
There are lots of browns
In this world of ours
Caramel, honey brown
White milk chocolate Hershey Bar
Each of them sure taste good
I like all kinds of foods
You can be friends with
Anyone you want to
Be kind to all that lives
We are Italian
English, Scandinavian,
Czech, Slavic, Chinese
Korean, South Indian
Egyptian, Peruvian
First Nation, Mexican,
Greek, Hungarian,
A Good Samaritan
African, American, too

Words by LARRY LONG with Matt Hardy’s 3rd Grade Class of Cedar Ridge Elementary
(Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
© Larry Long 2005 / BMI