International Women's Day: Three Generations of Black Girl Magic
This is my great grandmother. (My grandfather's mother) She is not here for your mess, and neither am I.
I inherited her side eye.
Even though she rarely smiled in photos she had a big heart. She was kind, and always had green kool-aid in the fridge.
Her house was always full of children. She even took in foster kids. Their final address was Sunshine Street. Her street name was indicative of how you felt in her presence.
She was quiet, soft spoken, and modest in dress. (Modest meaning not flashy. Her sister Pearlie is where I get my fashionista ways)
She was born in 1909 in Alabama. She wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of Alabama and not be a sharecropper. She accomplished both.
As well as her side eye I also inherited her resilience. She had her share of let downs and heartache. She buried four of her nine children. One of whom was a twin and died just days old.
She lived through Jim Crow, raised children during the Great Depression, lived through two World Wars, the Civil Rights movement, and everything else. She didn't let fear or anyone else get in the way of becoming who she wanted to be. Neither should you.
This is my grandmother. She is the epitome of beauty and brains. Eternal head turner, quick witted, sharp tongued. Always has to have the last word.
She worked in a bakery to pay her way through nursing school. As a result, she learned to make the most delicious cinnamon rolls ever known to man. My grandmother makes the best. Hands down.
When she was pregnant with my mother ,it was the height of the civil rights movement. They lived in the south, and my papa feared for her giving birth to my mother in such a hostile environment.
He bought her a train ticket to head North. My grandmother got on the train and decided to turn back. She wasn’t leaving her husband.
She never ran from a challenge.
You can’t tell her nothing.
She’s had her fair share of heartache and ups and downs. She wasn’t the perfect mother.
No one is.
After she had six children she went back to school to receive her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She did this because she wanted to be a supervisor. She wanted to be a boss.
The most important thing she instilled in her children was to reach higher. Many of the neighbors did domestic work. My grandmother went back to school after having six children to receive her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She wanted to be a supervisor. The boss.
She gave her children insight to what they could be. She showed them a better way. They could go further with education. You could go to college, you could be a professional.
She served in the church, and was and still is a great singer. She as a unique opera like voice. When she sings she can bring tears to your eyes.
This is my mother. Quiet, reserved. She is a student of life. Always learning, she instilled in me a love of reading. She is a wordsmith and a moving public speaker.
Like her mother, she made sure to make education a priority in our home. I remember in middle school, I had a report card that was less than stellar. She gave me the come to Jesus talk about the importance of education. She then had all five of her siblings, and my grandparents call me and give me that same lecture. You can bet I didn’t bring home a report card like that again.
She loves God, and her testimony unshaken. I’ve seen her many a time, in the quiet of the dawn reading her scriptures and on her knees in prayer. Hers is a legacy of putting faith in God and letting go.
On this International Women’s Day I pay homage to all the women in my family that came before me. The ones I know, and the ones I do not. Their strength and resilience flow through my veins.
I know I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams.