My Most Memorable Moment of 2009: I found my biological father…he’s deceased. But lives in me.

(My father Joe McCray and my mother Mavis Jackson: Design by Carlos Muhammad)

By Jesse Muhammad

I know you’re preparing for your New Year’s Eve party and making a mile-long list of resolutions that you may or may not keep. I hope that you will have the resolve to make them reality.

During this last month of 2009, I took the time to reflect on what successes I have had and what mistakes I have endured or still enduring. Yet out of all of the moments I have had, nothing touches me more nor brings tears to my eyes than the moment I found out who my biological father is.

Or should I say was….it depends on how you look at it. Pause….sigh...…it’s hard to blog about this.

Ok, I can do this.

If you have been following me closely this year on my blog, Facebook or Twitter, you read as I embarked upon a hard journey starting back on September 4, the 31st anniversary of my birth. I publicly made a decision to find out who my true biological father is/was. I didn’t really know how to do it so I reached out to people and they helped me map it out. (You know who you are)

But Allah (God) maneuvered things in such a way that I got some information within three days. I grew up thinking that a certain man, Earl Rideaux, was my father because my mother thought so too. However in the dawn of this now passing decade, in 2001, my mother shared with me she didn’t really know who the father was because she was in between relationships. So it was either the living Earl Rideaux or the deceased Joe McCray.

Whoa. I didn’t take it too well. I went mute on the subject. I never discussed it further with her. Matter of fact, my pent up anger of “I don’t need him anyway” attitude served as my mental refuge…my closet…my cover.

Or even my excuse not to want to know the truth. Dang, why she didn’t tell me after all these years? I didn’t have a need to dwell on that. I moved on.

I thought I did.

Well in 2009 I could no longer suppress it. I was tired of sitting and getting watery eyes as I watched fathers with their sons. I was tired of acting like this wasn’t impacting me. I was tired of seeing a movie wherein a father unites with his son and tears flow inside of me.

Real men don’t cry, right? Real men don’t show hurt feelings, right? Man, please. That doesn’t strip you of your manhood. I had to learn that.

So, with a strong prayer and my mother’s permission I went public with my intentions on GlobalGrind.com. The article struck a nerve across all races, classes and creeds. I needed the support network just in case my “I don’t need him anyway” attitude got the best of me again.

Then it happened so fast.

On September 7, I found myself meeting the daughters of Earl Rideaux for the first time. They believed I was their long lost big brother and they had heard so much about me. I wanted to be their brother. Then a week later on September 13, I talked to Earl on the phone extensively about getting a DNA test to see if he was truly my biological father. He agreed.

Four days later, my mother and I went to pick him up for the DNA test on September 17. He was confident I was his son. I wasn’t sure but I was praying it would be him. Because he was alive, I could have a chance to build a father-son relationship.

Then on September 22 the results came in. It was a 0% probability. Earl Rideaux is not my biological father. He was hurt. So was I and I cried inwardly with a smile of disbelief. I will forever call Earl Rideaux a true man who stepped up to the plate. Many who call themselves men may have never taken that test. I will forever consider him and his girls my family.

It was done.

At the close of this decade I found out who my biological father was. This brought closure for my mother and opened up a new chapter in the life of Brother Jesse. I still had moments this past month where my eyes got watery about the reality that the man that God used to give me life is gone.

Until I remember he lives through me. “Get it together Brother Jesse”, I tell myself.

I’m not into making New Year’s resolutions from my lips that are not in my heart. But for 2010 I know have the challenge of finding someone in my real father’s family tree. Nobody in my family has any connection to them. Many of you suggested I get his death certificate, use Ancestry.com, etc. I have taken your suggestions and I am moving out on them.

It’s a journey I am prepared to embark upon.

If you have been wondering about doing the same thing, I say again, go for it. It won’t be easy.

Matter of fact I’m shedding a tear now……2010 here we come.

Related Blogs:
Updates #1-3 In Search of My Father Series: Meeting with four out of the five daughters Earl has in Houston
My Biological Father Search Update #4: Earl agrees to take a DNA test....one step closer
My Father Search Update: Ladies and Gentlemen...Meet Earl Rideaux. Is he my father?
My Father Search Update: The DNA Results are in.....Earl Rideaux is not my biological father. Joe McCray is.
EXCLUSIVE Global Grind Blog: 31 yrs later.....Can GG help me find my father?


  1. That was a moving post. Knowing where we came from is important to help us move forward. I'm glad you finally found your father. I started using Ancestry.com to build a family tree for my children.

  2. @MochaDad
    I truly appreciate the comment and the support. I am doing the same thing on Ancestry.com.

    Much continued success to you and your family.

  3. Dearest Brother Jessie, This is an amazing and beautiful post for which I am so grateful. As the mother of openly adopted children I am amazed at how many people do not know their own biological families and what a deep hurt that leaves in a person's soul. I met my brothers just last year, and will be traveling to Texas in May to see them again. When we learn to honor ourselves, honor our children and honor God we will learn to heal the wounds and create strong women and men like you. Thank you for sharing your laughter, pain and joys with me the past few months. I look forward to learning more about you in 2010. ~c

  4. @Medina Your words are on time and thank you for sharing your story with me (us). I am happy we met via Twitter and looking forward to building in 2010. Much continued success to you.

  5. This is so AMAZING!

  6. You are a remarkable brother!!!

  7. Oh I weep enough for everyone, but real men do cry and I love and appreciate you. I'm wresting with missing my folks tonight as I turn over another calendar without their presence and support. It won't be long though, I'll see them again I trust. I'm weary.

  8. I've been asking my mom for many many years who my dad is and I've always gotten the cold shoulder. I know this subject is painful and I've shared with her that I will never EVER love her any less. But it pains me to not know, and it pains me even more that she doens't want to share any information with me. It's an unexplanable hurt to not know... Always praying for guidance, an answer, something to repair the hole in my heart...maybe I'll email this article to her. You said it Bro. Jesse... 2010 HERE WE COME!

  9. Geez, brother. I'm hoping that Mr. Rideaux still doe sthe things that were helpful to you and for you as a father. Elders tell us that because we aren't the biological father, makes no sense that we cannot be a father. I'm speechless about finding out your real father is passed and to even know if he knew about you. Good fortune in your journey, brother.

  10. Brother May Allah bless your full journey. There is something that Allah must have for you to do. Your situation is not a unique one but your response to the circumstances is unique.

    You faced and is facing the reality of yourself.
    Remember the ultimate Authority who gave each of us our value and our measurement. May Allah bless your example. Have another blessed year to you and your family.

    -Bro brian

  11. Wow! What a beautiful story. It's true many of us do not know our biological parents. I've known who my father is for sometime now but have never actually met him. Recently I was on Facebook and found him! I sent him a friend request, he hasn't responded, not sure what to do next, but I truly appreciate your story and pray for your success.

  12. Wow, thank you family for the support and love.

    @BlackDove You're such a wonderful Black woman. I admire your strength.

    @Anonymous who said they have asked their mother. I will pray for you and your mother. Please share my article with her. Keep dialoguing and God-Willing she will open up.

  13. @Tiffany Thank you. Happy New Year to You.

    @Brian Muhammad Your words is always on time and on point. Thank you for being a true brother. Allah u Akbar! (God is the Greatest)

    @LaSchwanna Muhammad ASA:I will pray for you that Allah touches your father's heart to accept not only your Facebook friend request but embrace you into his life and vice versa. I am here for you if you need any further support.

  14. Everyone! I am receiving so many wonderful quotes on Facebook that I am inspired to share them on my blog. About to post them.

  15. From Facebook:

    Your story is truly an inspiration Brother Jesse. I understand your pain as I have a similar story. I sought out my own father at age 19 and found him after two years of Internet searching.

    For anyone out there who does not know, and is pretending that you don't care- stop lying to yourself. You need to know if for no other reason that to mentally connect with your ancestry, thus yourself.

    Kudos to you Brother Jesse for your transparency and for inspiring so many people daily!

    ---Crystal Washington Martin


    --Tierre D Joyner

  17. Wow. Bless you now and always.

    --MaryJane Mudd

  18. Wow! That is amazing because I have the same memorable moment for 2009! God is surely good! I found my father too. We are very blessed and I wish you a wonderful New

    ---Jennifer Scott

  19. Reuben Realthoughts MuhammadJanuary 1, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    My brother this is such an emotionally filled story. It has empowered me more to be a greater example of a man & be a great father to my sons.

    Whatever u need brother let me know, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an arm to punch or whatever. I pray that Allah continues to strengthen & keep you. That he aides u in uncovering all that u desires to find. One love beloved brother.

    P.S. - aint nothing wrong with crying when its real

  20. @Crystal Wow, you are such an amazing woman. Thank you for your words sister

    @Tierre Thank you!

    @MaryJane Thank you my friend :-)... See More

    @Jennifer True, God is truly good!

    @Reuben You have always been there. Thanks brother

  21. Jesse I found my biological father about 8 years ago and I remember the moment like yesterday. He was and is incarcerated but it helped me alot. I feel you brother...
    11 hours ago ·

  22. Wow--that was beautiful! Our fathers are such a special and amazing part of who we are---kudos and wishing U and your fam blessings in the new year!

  23. Kindred spirits... Being an only child that was used, abused, abandoned and rejected by both parents [alleged father] I too know all to well the void it leaves you with... But I have taken those missed opportunities of being loved and I continuously nurture and cultivate my relationship with my 3 daughters so they will have that essential ... See Moreconnection we all innately desire to have with our parents. To this day I have no idea of my ancestry on both sides [other than hear say] and still struggle from time to time with a sense of who I am.

    I bless you my Brother! Your heart and character is the greater not in spite of your journey but because of your journey!

    Remember, your tears are not in vain. They are captured and kept for a time to wash over someone else...

  24. You know, I don't know you very well but I know that what you've undertaken takes courage and strength and both of those traits are character builders. Keep seeking what you want and Allah will bless you greatly. All praise is due to Allah for the HEM and the HMLF!

  25. @Gregory Thank you my brother for sharing that and the encouragement. I am happy you found your father.

    @Ati Thank you and many blessing to you in the new year as well.

    @Montrice Wow sister that's a powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing that. I too made sure my daughter would never have to wonder who her father it. Thank you for your encouraging words and beautiful spirit.

  26. @Arai You are so on point with your words. Thank you.

  27. MAAN Bro. you may not physically have your father but you will always have a brother in me. Hit me if you need anything. Love you Bro!

  28. May ALLAH bless u to find the family u so want to connect with,and to kno ur father though them.. Ur story truelly is touchin and brought a tear to my eyes. I pray ALLAH U A SUCCESSFUL IN UR JOURNEY..

  29. And he would be so proud of the man you have become. You are a true gem of a son, and he knew without a doubt that you came from him. I love you and will always be right by your side through this journey.

  30. Beloved, that was outstanding. I commend you for embarking upon the journey that so many can't get past the anger and/or hurt to do. I also thank you for sharing with us because you are healing yourself and others with your determination which in it and of it self is a mighty power of influence. May Allah continue to bless, keep and guide you and your family.

  31. Qiana Manns MuhammadJanuary 1, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    We all are tearing up. Your expression is unique but your journey is so common. We have a generation of motherless & fatherless youth- our life experiences connects us to others. That connection opens the door for guidance.

  32. Thank you all again for these beautiful comments:

    @Mitchell Brother I already know! You've been a true brother to our family for years. Thank you.

    @Velyjah ASA sister. Thank you for your support.... See More

    @Mavis I LOVE YOU MOMMA :-)

    @Alisha Thank you as always for being a wonderful supportive sister. May Allah continue to elevate you and your family.

    @Qiana So so true. Our experiences binds us all. Thank you. You are a true example of sisterhood :-)

  33. Also I am going to document you alls comments for my journal

  34. As salaam alaikum 3Jay...Congratulations on your 2009 bittersweet moment of clarity. While aspects of your journey may have been a little disappointing, Allah is the great eraser of our pain and the God of second chances. Proof of that is the irrefutable fact that the photo of mama and Joe (your dad) atop your blog is nothing more than a soulful pic of you and Sharifah. Take a pic of yall and put it next to that pic and you'll see how Allah has granted you the power over your future that you did not possess over your past. Ultimately Kalimah gets the benefit and Allah gets the praise. What a mighty God we serve. ASA!

  35. Also, I personally knew Joe and I distinctly remember that he was "stand-up". All I remember is that he was always smiling, always giving and even Granny liked him (which was rare). When he came around things always "changed"; ya know food, clothes; Astroworld. Right before he got killed I'd seen him hustling in 3rd ward and asked him to buy me a polo. It was the first time he'd ever told me "no". Ironicallly I bought u a polo for your bday this year. I'm saying all that to say that being his son is blessing. He was a damn good dude and I see a lot of him in you. Great men die on the block hustling every day. He was one of 'em. Right hand to "the Man."

  36. @Deric Wa Laikum Salaam. As always big brother, your words bring a smile to my face. I am grateful to have you and Ed as big brothers. Love you...and you sho right about that picture!!!!! lol

  37. What happens to us is not as important as how we deal with it and what we learn about ourselves. Your grasp of your own needs and feelings is serving you well. God Bless!

  38. I am very happy for you that you got closure. My dad doesnt know his dad and he has the same forget him I dont need him, never needed to know him attitude. I am very curious to find out who this man is. It would answer a ton of questions for me. So I understand your struggle, frustration, and pain. I am sooooo beyond happy you got closure. I was always touched by this story, I remember reading your start on global grind.

  39. @Michaelann Bewsee I appreciate you taking the time to even visit my blog and make this comment. Thank you very much. God bless you too.

  40. @md20737 My sister, my sister from Twitter! I awaited your comment and as expected its touching. Thank you for all of the support from the start and I pray that your father makes that connection so questions can be answered in your mind.

  41. I'm proud of you, and I thank Allah for giving you the strength to travel the path of truth. Knowledge of Self is truly a blessing. Here you are seeking to know your bio-dad, and I spent most of my years wishing I never knew mine. Despite all my prayers and attempts to split up my parents, they are still together. Well, not focussing on my parents anymore, I have turned within to conquer the demons I have allowed in.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

    Kevin 6X, author of Psychological War: The Battles of a Young BlackMan
    Available at www.kevin6x.com, www.bn.com, www.amazon.com

  42. Peace, All praise is due to Allah for giving you not only the strength to make that journey but to endure it. The Qu'ran say that "Verily, with every difficulty comes ease" and I pray that Allah grants you ease in this and every situation.
    As Salaamu Alaikum

  43. This is an amazing and courageous journey that you embarked upon and completed, Brother Jesse. I'm very proud of you for asking the hard question and being brave enough to deal with the end result.

    On My Question of the Day blog, I asked the question: You can't miss what you've never had. Agree or Disagree? (http://myqotd.com/2009/09/04/my-question-of-the-day-for-04-september-2009/)

    Your post sums up one perspective to that question quite nicely.

  44. @Kevin 6X As Salaam Alaikum. Wow Deep comment brother. Thank you for sharing and we all have demons to battle everyday. I will be checking out your website today.

    @Aqiyl Qasim BEAUTIFUL Quranic verse and it fits so well. Praise be to Allah for your encouragement and words.

  45. @Faydra Deon Thank you queen. I am a BIG FAN of your website and thought-provoking questions every day. I appreciate your love and support. Many blessings to you in 2010 and beyond.

  46. Coach Bilal Sankofa A. SalaamJanuary 4, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Thikr Allahu Akbarahu: "Rememberance & Reflection on the Greatness of The GOD is the Greatest form of Thought". I applaud you for your courage to embark on this journey. The Quran States: "The Blessings are in the Hijra (Journey)& The Jihadal Nafs (Internal Struggle)is the greatest & most beneficial journey of the Human Being. I will continue to make Dua (Supplication) for you and your family & send All Positive Energy & Vibrations your way. You model excellence for many to see. May your Journey be filled with Al Nuur (the Eternal Light of The ALL Seeing & All Knowing Source of Everything that IS).

    Your Brother in the struggle for Peace,
    Coach Bilal Sankofa A. Salaam

  47. peace brother jesse, i am saddened for your loss, yet marveling at your strength.

    i too suggest ancestry.com, and also perhaps looking up his family members on social networking sites like myspace and facebook. using those avenues worked for me in a way...

    here is my story concerning my own father issues, with some stats on how being fatherless can really devastate innocent children: http://hvmntlst.com/avYhiB

    i have seen this story so many times in our community...and it saddens me every time i hear another one. i'm praying for you. i'm praying for us. take care.


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