Ain't I a Women?
An Essay to the Strength of the Black Woman
Imagine yourself working in the fields - plowing, planting and gathering crops into barns
year after year under the scorching heat of the sun. Imagine enduring the horrors
of bondage, the cruelties of your masters, and the discrimination of men. Imagine
being subjected to merciless beating for no reason. Imagine being forced into sexual
relationships and having no right to complain. Imagine bearing children, raising them
up, only to see all of them being sold off to slavery. Imagine yourself screaming at the
top of your lungs with no one to hear you. Imagine living this way for the rest of your life.
One doesn?t have to go into the details of how generations have suffered through the
years to be repulsed and horrified by such blatant degradation of the human spirit. And
one doesn?t have to be black to empathize with the unspeakable injustice and abuse
that these brave souls have gone through.
I belong to the human race. I believe that we all came from one progenitor and that our
minds are somehow connected to each other, so I am for all. I weep bitterly after reading Beloved and stories of other Margaret Garners out there as much as I weep over stories of the holocaust.
No one can underestimate the psychological toll of being a black woman ? the whole
range of oppressions that she suffered all throughout history ? devoid of any racial,
sexual, or societal class to rely upon, or any access to resources and power. Yet,
no one could also underrate the power of the human spirit to triumph in the face of
adversities and rise above its tragic circumstances. Black women throughout history are
living monuments of this indisputable truth.
What initially seemed to be their disadvantage proved to be their greatest strength.
Driven by the fierce desire to excel, they dared to try mighty things, stretched
themselves beyond human capacity and won glorious triumphs over the undulating
wave of success and failure, joy and pain, victory and defeat.
Within almost 100 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, black African Americans
have dominated almost all aspects of society. Browsing through Ford?s List of the
World?s 100 Most Influential Women, I can?t help but smile at the array of interracial
and international personalities which include Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce
Knowles, Ursula Burns, Helen Gayle, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Ellen
Johnson-Sirleaf. This page will not be able to accommodate the list of black women who
changed the course of history.
Wasn?t it only yesterday that Isabella Baumfree a.k.a. Sojourner Truth delivered her
most famous speech at the Ohio Woman?s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio ? with the
most unforgettable phrase, ?Ain?t I a Woman??
It was only in 1988 that Whitney Houston?s hit song ?One Moment in Time? hit the
charts, but this song has always been in the hearts of all black women throughout
history. They have indeed raced with destiny, though they started at a point where their
dreams seemed to be light years away. As the Virginia Slims ad aptly puts it, ?You?ve
come a long way baby.?
Indeed, that one moment in time is finally in their hands. The time has come for the
answers to be up to them. In their hands, they hold not only that much prized freedom
but also eternity.
Many fought and paid for their lives for this freedom without seeing the outcome, people
whom this world is not even worthy of. Yet they live on in those who continued to pursue
their cause and finally overcame.
In this month-long celebration of black history, the world could only stand in awe to such
courage and fortitude.