My mother is a strong woman. When the going gets tough, she gets tough and keeps going. I channel my inner Norma Jean when things are tough for me. I ponder:
What would Mama do?
How did Mama get through?
Following her, I can, too!
Most of what I have faced is light compared with what she faced and before that what my grandmother and a long line of women leading back through my ancestry faced. I cannot truly imagine what they faced.
How did Big Mama (my great-grandmother) cope?
How often did life put her on the ropes?
I think about Sojourner.
If Sojourner could stand up and speak her Truth, how can I not? Why would I stay silent?
I summon my inner Fannie Lou; she powered through despite the insults and the assaults. I can do no less.
My trials and tribulations are light compared to these.
Can we talk about Harriet Tubman, please?
She brought others along on a journey to freedom, how can I not push, pull, and inform others, too?
I appreciate Sister Shirley who opened the door that people were not ready for her to enter.
She brought her own seat
Her unwavering audacity was her greatest feat.
I dare not be weak with burdens so light
I call on the might
of the women before and now:
Ella, Rosa, Nina, Bar
Mama, Norma Jean is my main source
to carry on, be strong, get through
What would I have done without you?
Thank you, Mom.
Mama was one of the first Black students to integrate Rosati Kain, a Catholic High School in St. Louis, MO. She went from an all-Black city, Kinloch, to an all-white school. This article was published recently about that experience: