How did we survive? That is the question stirring in my heart as I wind down my celebration of Women’s History Month. I chose to concentrate my celebration on African American women because the truth about them has been kept secret instead of being revealed.
Last Sunday evening I sat up for seven hours watching “Queen”, the story of Alex Haley’s grandmother. To those who might not know who Alex Haley is, he was the writer of “Roots”, which evolved into a television series that rocked the world.
My eyes were glued to that screen - I didn’t want to miss what I saw unfolding before me. What I was experiencing as I watched Queen’s horrid life story revealed was beyond words. The depth of the racism being exposed was horrifying.
The pain that I was experiencing could never compare to the pain our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts have had to bare since being brought here to this country called America. My country tis of thee sweet land of liberty for who? The evils that were and are still being wielded against us are so enormous that it’s no wonder alcoholism and drugs have stolen the lives of so may women of color. We still survived, however, against all of those odds. But the pain is still there even though so many are so good at masking it.
It’s time for us to stop allowing ourselves to be separated and divided. After all, we are the conscience of America. We are the ones that can turn this madness around so that our children can begin to see a new day and a new way.
I’m now going to share with you the words of some women that I feel will be beneficial for your eyes to gaze upon:
Mary McLeod Bethune: “Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living.”
Angela Davis: “We, the black women of today, must accept the full weight of a legacy wrought in blood by our mothers in chains… as heirs to a tradition of supreme perseverance and heroic resistance.”
Ida B. Wells-Barnett: “I do not see how colored women can be true to themselves unless they demand recognition for themselves and those they represent.”
Sojourner Truth: “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman?”
Dorothy I Height: “When you’re a black woman, you seldom get to do what you just want to do; you always do what you have to do.”
Anna Julia Cooper: “Only the black woman can say, ‘When and where I enter… then and there the whole race enters with me.’”
Jarena Lee: “For as unseemly as it may appear nowadays for a woman to preach, it should be remembered that nothing is impossible with God.”
Shirley Chisholm: “Black women are not here to compete or fight with you, brothers. If we have hang-ups about being male or female, we’re not going to be able to use our talents to liberate all of our black people.”
Paula Giddings: “Throughout the social history of black women, children are more important than marriage in determining the woman’s domestic role.”
Sojourner Truth: “There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights but not a word about colored women; and if colored men get their rights and not colored women theirs, you see, colored men will be masters over the women.”
Nikki Giovanni: “We black women are the single group in the West intact. And anybody can see we’re pretty shaky. We are, however (all praises), the only group that derives it’s identity from itself.”
Mari Evans: “I am a black woman, the music of my song, some sweet arpeggio of tears is written in a minor key and I can be heard humming in the night, Can be heard humming in the night.” Wow!
Black women, we need to join hands, put all differences aside and strive towards bringing peace and love back into the world. We are the mothers, therefore we must be the protectors of that which has come forth from our wombs. We cannot afford to be jealous nor envious of one another, for we are losing our children. Rise up and be the warriors and protectors that we were created to be. If not, we’ll only have ourselves to blame for our silence. The future lies in our hands. This is Lillie’s Point of View!