Torches, this is part one of two. The other part (BLACK. MEN. MAKE. HISTORY.) in June.
“Black women take care of Black women.”– Ashley Yates, writer
In the land where all that is not White and male is ignored, let me say this. Black women make history on a daily basis! Sometimes that history is as small as staying alive. I say often, “We fight because we cannot afford to die.”
In this Women’s History Month, on the heels of the 91% of Black women being the army which helped to depose 45, our contribution to the larger recollection of what we know as American History cannot be ignored! We have been here because no one else has been here for us! I have made no secret of the Black woman influences in my life whom have shaped not only me, but this space! The tag line: “It has to be said and has to be said by somebody” came from my own mother. The daughter of sharecroppers, and one of the first women in my maternal family (the second, actually) who went to college. This let me know that could go to college as well. Her sisters (Stella, Ellen, Valarie, Myra), are the Avengers I needed in a world which can be so cruel to Black children.
Ida Bell Wells Barnett is the patron saint of this space, and I adopted her as a grandmother through history. It is her moxie, brilliance and tenacity that inspired me to be a journalist. It was Nikki, Maya, Audre, Toni and Phyllis that gave me the power of wordplay. And it was Mrs. Annie Green in fourth grade that gave me my first journal–giving me the ownership of my own thoughts. For that, will always be grateful!
WE FIGHT BECAUSE WE CANNOT AFFORD TO DIE.
Black women are integral to this American life, and that cannot be diminished!
We are power personified, we are power, beauty and fire! We are indeed the hope and dream of the slave while being everything listed in Nikki Giovanni’s classic work Ego Tripping! We are not the ‘Black version’ of anything–we are the first of who we are! We are the hopes our grandmothers ran with in their bellies. We are the tears our grandfathers sowed into plowed ground they did not own. We are the result of the same elements that make diamonds: darkness, pressure and time.
Doctors. Researchers. Nurses. Politicians. Mothers. Activists. Social Workers. Change Agents. Actors. Directors. Writers. Scholars. Bloggers. Philanthropists. Philosophers. Griots. Entertainers. Business owners. Moguls. Poets. Historians. And on. And on.
Black women, no matter where we are. We make ways out of no way, because we were taught to. We are magic. We are not invisible: we are strong enough to make these millions and get back to business.
With that said, to my sisters–no matter where you are–let us get to and continue the work of making history. The daughters of this age are watching.