iThings to Collard Greens

iThings to Collard Greens

iThings to Collard Greens—a funny name for a serious youth program. Most youth know about “iThings,” those high-tech gadgets disconnecting us from self and others. Youth need to know about simpler, and healthier foods, surroundings, activities and relationships—symbolized by collard greens. For many African-American, collard greens bring to mind Grandma’s down-home cooking and a closer-to-nature lifestyle. Grandma’s world should become part of ours.

Youth can move from “ithings to collard greens” with a great teacher, Nannie Helen Burroughs. For the first half of the 20th century, this African-American accomplished much locally and nationally as an educator, orator, religious leader and businesswoman. In 1909 she launched a vocational school where young women of color studied and lived the “three B’s” –Bible, bath and broom, that is, cleanliness of mind, body and surroundings.

Continuing Burroughs’ legacy, local healer and artist Rev. Kathy English Holt has developed a girls’ summer camp called iThings to Collard Greens. This past summer (the camp’s fifth consecutive session), 37 campers turned off technology and tuned into simpler, healthier ways. The campers learned to nurture the whole person, including: the body with plant-based nutrition, gardening, green household cleaning, dance and yoga; the mind with affirmations, historic African-American women leaders, sewing and knitting; and the spirit with meditation, African heritage teachings, service projects, poetry and community-building. To reinforce the summer experience, a monthly gathering series is in development.

With the girls learning simpler and healthier ways, the future is looking less tech-obsessed and more refreshing.

Courtesy of Natural Awakenings DC – Washington



Nannie Helen BurroughsNannie Helen Burroughs
(May 2, 1879 – May 20, 1961)
was an African American educator, orator, religious leader, and businesswoman. She gained national recognition for her 1900 speech “How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping,” at the National Baptist Convention.
Burroughs created a creed of racial self-help through her program of the three Bs-the Bible, the bath, and the broom. The Bible, the bath, and the broom stood for a clean life, a clean body, and a clean house. She believed domestic work should be professionalized and even unionized. 
Burroughs trained her students to become respectable employees by becoming pious, pure, and domestic, but not submissive. She emphasized the importance of being proud black women to all students, by teaching African-American history and culture through a required course in the Department of Negro History.