What has been the role of the Black Woman/Mother in our history? This is a question asked and answered through the eyes of a black man in America. It is my opinion, it is not a definitive narrative, but it is mine.
We all started in chains in America, men, women, and children. Dragged off the slave ships and placed naked, on large platforms, sold. After that began the harsh life as slaves, there would be 400 years of brutality. The price our women paid was twofold. Our women were field laborers, cooks, seamstresses, belly warmers, sex toys for the master, and sometimes his wife.
On our plantation, we could marry, but that did not exclude our women from being taken at night. We could have children. If you want to see, a woman’s heart torn out. Then you should have witnessed her 12-year-old daughter is taken out of her arms, and subsequently impregnated by “him.” Far too often at 12 years old giving birth was a death sentence. No child can handle the task of a woman. Then witness her son sold to another plantation, and her eyes go dark. How was I supposed to help heal her, because of his evil deeds? Master broke her inside and left her for me.
What can you do when your wife is sent back to you smelling of his stench, and she cannot raise her eyes to look at you. She knows full well what this has done to you. She slowly picks up your head and tries to convince you that you are still her man, and it will not be this way forever. What can you do when the term of her pregnancy is nearing an end, and in the back of your mind you all you can do is pray that the child is black like you. The child is born with green eyes and mocha skin. At least there is a lesser chance this child is sold, not that it matters to you, it’s his child. So, each day there is a constant reminder of what master had done, and more than likely will do again. Through her tears, she tells you that change is going to come. It is hard to hear her words because your world has once again gone white.
Even in slavery black mothers looked to the future. While their husbands lay broken, they were planning for the walk into the future. What made black women so strong? It was not slavery; they were always that way. Black women always knew that if they were fertile, they would one day produce a free child. Our black women have always been the keeper of the flame. They have forever worked hard to preserve the black mans’ dignity, as husbands, fathers, and sons.
No amount of anger could alter the course of the Black woman’s determination. Black mothers have lost so much, but they have also ushered into existence a new breed of children that stand at the edge of modern civilization. This country has a horrible history of abuse levied on Black America.
Black women are the fiercest parents in the world. I am not saying other mothers are not strong or do not protect their children. What I am saying is that no race in America has had so little and done so much.
Black America has been stolen, whipped to break our spirit, sold, raped and forced to bear children because of those rapes. During all these atrocities, they still had the strength to try to bring comfort to us black men, when there was no comfort. Black American women have been abused on two continents and treated as though they never belonged to either.
I know that black men down through history should have always honored our Black Women, always. There has never been a more significant story that produced freedom from the womb.
© Q. Javon Overton