Prisonersolidarity.Org

Home - About Us - Newsletter - Legal Corner - Learning - Resources - Commentary - Film - Lucasville

Homage to Black Women
By Nikki Blakely, Prisonersolidarity.org
July 1, 2006

"He raped me," is what she wanted to say, but it sounded more like she asked for it. "I never took nothing from her," is what we often hear, but the truth of the matter is never so clear. "I want my virginity, dignity and childhood back," is what we hear, but what we see are young mothers being tailed by one, two, three or more children, maybe with different fathers. They (society) say nothing good will come of that life. And why?

When did we stop and forget about the ladies? Yes, I said ladies: wives, girls, daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers. However you see fit to address her, she is still female, a derivative of the male and a cut above the rest. She has a beautiful, natural complexion, and has no need for makeup. She is made up of all shades, from brown to black, and possesses almond-shaped eyes, sharp cheekbones, maintained locks, full lips, and curves. Her unique ways are something for the eyes to behold. You could think about her all day long, but you don't. For she was once property when married or with master, and she was a slut when she bore a child out of wedlock. And she was defiant and beaten when speaking her mind. And we wonder why she laid her life on the line.

Black woman, I've seen you before. You are everything I'm looking for. You hold me tight in the middle of the night. You feed me when I'm hungry, you clothe me when I'm naked, you provide shelter for me when you have nothing. But you are seen as a second-class citizen. You ask for equality and the freedom to think? I think not. And let me say this (as you walk behind me): You may not speak unless spoken to. You may not allow yourself to be seen by another man's eyes. And why? Why? Because you are mine. And we wonder why your life lays on the line.

These are just some of the things black women have endured for the sake of freedom and independence. Why is it that a black woman is questioned when she gets a good education, waits to have a family or stays pure (celibate), and follows the path of faith? Women of color have taken the backseat and the brunt for too long. We've had to stand up when we've wanted to sit down, we've had to be quiet when we wanted to speak, we've taken a fist or a slap when we didn't deserve such treatment. But we've also stood the test of time. We've accomplished the impossible, weathered storms, attained the out of reach, and have been the proud heads of families that span generations. Why have our lives lain on the line?

I look around my kitchen and long to see her, the black woman who molded me. But as I look around, all I see is me. I can feel her touch as she holds me close (never letting go). Her sisters still watch over me. They are the voices I hear in the community and the black women I see in positions of power. Now that I have grown to become a member of this prestigious sorority, I am a BLACK WOMAN just as she, and proud to be free. Where women often get pushed to the back, I tend to stand off to the side. She taught me that. She said, "When others follow to the letter, you must learn to adapt that letter to your chain. I have learned, and today I am a vision of all that society fears: I have freedom, education, and a heart that gives all year long. I am my elders' dreams come to life, that is, I am that little girl who learned how to fight. What I contribute to my society is that which has been taken for granted: I am a BLACK WOMAN.

To be a Rosa Parks can be a tall order. To be equated with an Oprah Winfrey is more than big deal. To be a Harriet Tubman is a long stretch, and to be a Madam C.J. Walker offers a lot of sex appeal. For us, today, to be what any black woman ever was is a mere shadow of our legacy.

I stand proud to be a motherless child. For she was there with a smile when I needed her. To say "motherless" does not mean that I was alone, but she accepted me into the sisterhood before her motherhood took over. And now that I am a woman I want to give back, because I cannot repay my elders for their time. In my everyday efforts, I pray that I become half the woman they were - those black women who paved my way.

Thank you, my Queens, for your dream is my dream. Your pain is my struggle, your unheard words are my speech, your bruised egos are what drive me, and your strong foundation is something I am glad to have been touched by! Through you I will not be divided, but reunited with all black women. For we are family, through and through.

---
Nikki Blakely is an Ohio resident, a self-made woman, and a
professional student with three college degrees and is two years shy of obtaining a medical degree. She has maintained a 13-year healthcare business and has recently opened two new businesses (massage and wellness and a clothing line). Outside of using her professional education to give back to her community, she longs to become a wife and mother.

Ms. Blakely has been a visible and supportive force behind her king, Manuel McLemore, for 14 years. She has been doing a 12-year bid alongside him every step of the way. She desires nothing more than her king's release from captivity (prison) and their union as one. You may contact her via email at: mohnieke@hotmail.com

Contribute!

If you'd like to contribute letters, articles, artwork, or educational materials to this website, please contact us at:

Prisonersolidarity.org
P.O. Box 422
The Plains, OH 45780
OR submit your guest column to:
prisonersolidarity-owner@yahoogroups.com