You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
-Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
Being a black person in a place like America is no joke. On a daily basis, you’re faced with several issues arising from racism such as police brutality, outright discrimination from people and by people who are shades lighter than you are. Anybody who’s rational enough and think properly would realize just how ridiculous it is to hate on the next person because they have darker skin.
To be black in America is a lot of things. It’s to be hated by a bunch of people you’ve never said a word to. It’s to feel a certain kind of fear when you see the blue lights or hear the siren from police cars instead of feeling protected. It’s to live life wondering what your life would’ve been like if your ancestors didn’t get sold into slavery, only to pick cotton till they died. Being a black person is a lot but then, what about how it feels being a black woman?
Throughout history, it’s been seen clearly that black women have never really been treated fairly to the extent that the black women in the past all the way back to our ancestors in Africa were brought up to depend on the men in their lives.
They weren’t to go about getting anything on their own, they were groomed and taught how to behave when they end up in their husband’s home. They lived for their husbands and that was all there were to do. So when this husband dies, they lose everything and then they are inherited by another man who is related to their husband as his property. Unfortunately, their protectors had been taken away by death and by society standards, they were nothing again.
To be without a husband then, was to be empty and unaccomplished. It was the pride of the black woman, to have a husband and to bear him as many sons as possible.
BLACK WOMAN BECOMING A SLAVE
Coming to America as slaves, they had to up their game because they had been separated from their protectors, the head of the family, their providers. But this time it wasn’t necessarily death and nobody was there to inherit them. The least thing their white owners wanted from them was what they would call a good time because you can’t rape a Negro you owned. In fact, you just can’t rape a Negro, it’s truly not a thing.
As time passed by, and generations came and went away, the black woman changed. She evolved, she went from depending on the men in her life for everything including her life itself to supporting him. She did, in fact, upped her game and instead of being just the one to lean on anybody, she became reliable, she became someone her husband, brothers and sons could confide in at any time. The development and change in the black woman may not have been seen clearly up until when the slave trade came to an end. To the dismay of racist slave owners, she became a protector, she became strong in mind, body, and soul.
Because they said slave trade and ownership was over, didn’t necessarily mean it was over. It was all for formality really. I guess, when it became over was when the word racism even became a thing. Although black people were now given the privilege to get an education, we were educated separately. It was even a thing back then that we couldn’t be as smart as the white man. We just weren’t developed enough and so, we were truly below them.
Slave trade and ownership was out and segregation and racism were in. But as time passed, I really cannot help but marvel at the strength and development of black women and their impact in history.
THE REVOLUTION OF THE BLACK WOMAN
Now, although society has time and time again tried to dim the light of strong black women and tried to downplay their role in history, we know better. So if you’re reading this and you’re yet to see the movie, Hidden Figures then I suggest you stop right here and do it, for the culture. It’s one of those films that try to tell stories of amazing black women and how truly awesome they are.
This one tells the story of three brilliant African American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. These women who worked with NASA, regardless of everything they had to go through changed the game and made an impact the world cannot forget about. It makes me wonder what the people who thought black people weren’t smart would say since Katherine Johnson’s calculations on orbital mechanics played a very critical role towards the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights. So much for not being developed enough.
Today it’s 2019, and there’s this very obvious difference between who the black woman was and who she is now. From being in a society where they were taught to be helpless and to rely on others, the black woman has evolved and has changed things.
Women like Rosa Parks, an activist who is famous for refusing to go to the back of a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She sparked a city-wide boycott of buses that led to a law desegregating buses across the country. Also, Mary Kenner, Ruane Jeter, Marjorie Joyner, and Alice Parker just to mention a few made ground-breaking inventions that benefited not just America but the whole world. Inventions such as toasters, gas heating furnace, maxi pads, bathroom tissue holder, a back washer, permanent wave machine for hair, etc. The list of black women who have played an important role in our history goes on and on.
I can’t help but smile at black queens today. We’ve come so far as black women today. Being whatever we want to be, setting goals and meeting them.
Factually, it’s beautiful and inspiring that regardless of what the society dishes out to us, we’re still out here giving our all by starting up businesses that are really thriving. Similarly, I’m glad that we’ve gone from straightening our natural hair, hiding it under weaves and using relaxers just so we could get jobs to flaunting it and also creating jobs. Lastly, I cannot emphasize enough the sacrifices of the women before us. They took bold steps so we can do what we do today. Black women are truly magical creatures!