I am a Black Woman, every day
We are in the cusp of the nationally recognized Black History Month (February), and Women’s History Month (March). I, what some call a “double minority,” am both of these. Therefore, it is not just a few days out of the year (i.e. history months) that I take time to recognize them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I value the emphasis placed on reminding the world about how we as a people in these Americas have evolved. I love to see the inspirational quotes from black and women leaders, I love the stories (history) that help us to not forget the people who paved the way for us to live the lives we so freely lead today. I live it everyday.
But – I am the product of women, and also men, and of black folks, and also white folks, and native folks, and unknown folks because laws said that interracial love was wrong had a way of deleting folk’s history. I am the product of a diverse culture and a mind that willingly takes it all in… I am proud of the skin I am in, and even more proud of the heart and brain that God blessed me with, as well as the people he placed in my life to help mold them. I consider myself a true little American – a happy little mixture of lots of different peoples, and a happy little liver of the American life. I can only live the life I live because of the giants that came before me to pave a way for more equality. Ultimately, though, I’m just human – only one of more than 7 million trying to find their way in this world. If you ask me who I am today, I’ll say “a creative being, a lover, and Doctor Who fanatic that will dance to almost any song you play, and someone who fancies funny photos of fuzzy critters and sharing blog posts about life and things on the interwebs.” I do not let a singular factor of my physical being define me, but I do acknowledge the influence that each individual factor – physical, emotional, mental, etc. – has in making me the person that I am. And I think I’m just plain awesome.
And by awesome, I mean awkward, and cool with my awkwardness.
I would, though, like to take a date in these months of historical reverence to recognize a female of brown skin tone that made an impact in America. For the mindset that she held, which aligns so closely with mine, I see her as a champion and hero. I believe more people should know about her.
Zora Neale Hurston
She, too, was creative, and didn’t let the color of her skin define her role or place in life. A storyteller at heart, she was curious about the world beyond the all-black town she was raised in. She didn’t let factors like her age (she knocked 10 years off of it in order to finish her education) get in the way of her heart’s desires. Zora is well known as a writer of the Harlem Renaissance. She was also an anthropologist, studying the voodoo cultures of the Caribbean and adding her understandings of that to her collection of writings.
My favorite book written by Hurston is, of course, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I was introduced to this story (and Zora overall) by Oprah when she hosted it on her television channel back in 2005.
My favorite book about Ms. Zora is Dust Tracks on a Road, her autobiography.
I even had the pleasure of portraying Zora in a Black History Month Fashion Show at my University in 2012. If ever someone was to create a film about her life, I would definitely audition to play her role!
I mustn’t fail to mention that she is a member of our illustrious sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, back in its early days. Great minds think in similar ways, no? =)
I implore you to take the time to get to know about Zora Neale Hurston. Heck, her Wikipedia page even provides good information about her. Take it a step further and add one of her works to your reading list. Celebrate the history of Black Americans and Women by learning about them from our past.
I beg of you to please remember that “black history” does not only belong to black people, and “women’s history” does not only belong to women. We are not in a vacuum based on physical attributes here on earth. Your history is mine, and my history is yours. Therefore, black history and women’s history is a story about YOU. Immerse yourself in it beyond the months of February and March.
Until next time,