Everything you need to save this nation can be found in a Black woman. The mother of all civilization and creation. Black women are the epitome of grace under pressure, resilience, power, love and strength. Black women have always been at the forefront of a movement, under-girding a movement for liberation.
It was Harriet Tubman that reminded us how to deal with oppressors, “Never wound a snake, Kill it.”
It was Ellen Craft, a slave, that used her privilege to pass to free herself and her husband and declared, “I have never had the slightest inclination whatever of returning to bondage.”
It was Mamie Till, who allowed the world to see the horror of racism by allowing an open casket funeral for her son, Emmett Till.
It was Coretta Scott King that displayed silent strength as she sat veiled at her husband’s funeral, poised and stoic as her daughter rested her head in her lap and knew that she would have to continue the fight for Civil Rights even though being in the fight made her a widow.
It was Betty Shabazz that showed the love of a mother as she grabbed her children and pushed them to the floor beneath a bench shielding them with her body as her husband Malcolm was assassinated.
It was Sojourner Truth that was a one-woman feminist movement declaring, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!”
It was Phillis Wheatley that reminded us, “In every human beast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of freedom; it is impatient of oppression, and pants for deliverance.”
It was Fannie Lou Hamer that told us, “Nobody is free until everybody is free.” She stood boldly in the face of injustice and said, “I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared – but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember.”
It was Diane Nash that reminded us that we are the leaders that we have been searching for. “Freedom, by definition, is people realizing that they are their own leaders.”
It was Jo-Ann Robinson that was social media before social media was social media who created flyers to organize support for the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in 1955.
It was Assata Shakur that reminded us, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We much love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
Black women have always stood on the front lines and the sidelines. We have endured humiliation and embarrassment. We have stood naked on auction blocks and watched the world pick our bodies apart and put them on display. We were shamed for our appearance as this world made White women the standard for beauty, yet White men snuck into our quarters to rape us. We were humiliated for our skin color, lips and hip size yet this world built an empire trying to imitate what we were given naturally. We were subjected to playing wet nurse to your babies when we couldn’t even be there for our own. We were the conductor on the railroad to freedom. We fried the chicken, made the cornbread and packed the lunches for marches so our people could have nourishment. We ironed the shirts and pressed the pants, kept a clean home and cooked dinner in between fighting off the KKK. We made the signs and provided slogans that would change the world. We sat at the counters all while they spit in our faces and poured milkshakes over our heads. We endured the bites of dogs and hits from billy clubs. We assisted this nation in exploring the universe yet couldn’t even use the restroom in the very building we worked. We started movements that shook a nation. We stood backstage as the world demanded a man be center stage garnering credit for a movement. We buried our sons and our daughters too soon. We endured medical malpractice as the medical community used our bodies for Frankenstein research. We became the face of a movement fueled by our children’s blood. We were pioneers for freedom. We stood up to the system. We organized. We prayed. We fought. We resisted. We sang songs that encouraged our people to rise up, to speak out, to stand up. We warned you, America that this day would indeed be coming because chickens always come home to roost.
Do not ask us to console you during this time. We are no longer your wet nurse, your mammy, your maid. Your head will no longer rest in our bosom. For years we have listened to the cries of our ancestors from just beneath the soil, we have watched our husbands swaying in the trees, we have buried our daughters and wept as our sons were gunned down in the street. Daily, in this world, we rest on a bed of despair, we awaken to false hope. We screamed for justice and you turned a deaf ear and blind eye to our plight. Do not call us because you now wonder about your sense of security, something we have never known. We do not have the time or the inclination to be concerned about your tears. Because even as we wept, no one was ever concerned about ours. This time, you must weep alone. We resign ourselves from being the shoulder that you need to cry on. Find your own hope. Search for it deeply. I suggest, looking in the mirror first. Perhaps there you will find the reason that you now weep. And when you see your reflection, look beyond yourself and see the pain, suffering, and acts of horror that have been inflicted on people that did you no harm, that wanted nothing from you, that just wanted the basic right to simply be human and to be left alone.
So perhaps where America should start is making right everything that it has done wrong. Until then, I stand on the words of Ms Celie, who said, “Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail!”
A Black Woman