Artwork by timokamura.com
African American women are more than just “strong”. Our very existence is a miracle.
I’ve always known true American history. My grandfather, a sharecropper from Kingstree, South Carolina told me stories about black people being lynched, their dead bodies fed to hogs cousins raped by white men and black men being sent up north to have the babies and sending the children back to be raised by Aunties, Sisters, Mothers, and Grandmothers when I was 5 years old.
African Americans have lived the trauma for over 450 years here in America.
There were 12 generations of slavery before reconstruction. Think about that. 12 generations. Think of the toll on the enslaved women from Africa.
Documentaries like “13th” and “I am not your Negro” books like “The New Jim Crow” have awakened those who have been living their lives bathed in a happy ignorance of America.
When newly “woke” folks ask me if I’ve seen or read any of these fantastic works of art… I smile. Yes, I’ve seen the movies, no I haven’t read the books…why…because I’ve lived it.
All I have to do is look at the images of black people in our media and I can see it.
What struck me about the documentary “I am Not your Negro” was how brilliant James Baldwin was and the clarity he had as an outsider in the African American community.
What will live with me from the documentary “I am Not your Negro” is the fact that everything comes…with a cost. The American Dream of white picket fences…came with a price.
Seeing images of Doris Day and the white picket fence against sharecroppers shacks and black women and men’s lynched bodies hanging like strange fruit in poplar trees, images of enslaved Africans serving white masters…Native Americans being slaughtered as their land is stolen from them…free labor, lies, theft and oppression built the America that wants to be so great again.
I’ve always said I am NOT leaving this country…this country built upon and with the blood of my ancestors. James Baldwin came back after seeing images of 15 year old Hazel Massery who walked alone through the hundreds of screaming mostly white boys and men who spat on her as she walked to go to school. And what those disgusting white people did to her once she was inside the schoolhouse…alone with them was equally vile.
Baldwin came back, ashamed he was not there to stand with her. The civil rights movement sent Black women and Girls onto the front lines to be slaughtered and we would NOT have the level of freedom we have today, if it were not for their sacrifice.
I particularly honor the African American Women who continue to thrive and shine regardless of what is going on in the world.
African American Woman has ALWAYS been connected to making America fair and just for us. Remember, three African American women started the Black Lives Matter movement. Black women from the WNBA began the Black Lives Matter protests on the basketball court that Black Male athletes continued in 2016. How do we survive when everything is always taken from us?
We remain determined. When I saw the photos of Myrile Evers-Williams, (Medgar Evers wife), Corretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz with their husbands and families…my heart broke.
They were all so so young.
America…is hazardous to the African American’s lifespan.
So…as people who have abundance try to suck me dry…asking me to do, to be, to give when I struggle to care for my own single self I remember the strength of my foremothers and I take my individual self care seriously. The biggest boldest thing I can do on this planet as an African American woman… IS LIVE for a LONG ASS TIME.
I will not buy into everything that America offers that will kill me. I see this country clearly for what it is.
The strategy of making African American women the floor mat of the country, has never been the actual truth of reality.
I am an African-American woman born of this country. I am not an immigrant, my blood is the foundation of building this nation and this cannot be denied.
My backbone is steel, my soul is drenched in honey, and yes… I am strong and I am soft and…I am not your work horse.
I am a queen.