Black History Month truly brings forth the pride in me for culture, history, and the knowledge of resilience and one’s self. Some use Ancestry.com, DNAenterprises and more to find the root of our history, to give their families “heritage.” However, personally, I feel this is our history, I would never paint our picture without scars and the reflection of slavery , slave-ships, slave-trades and the perseverance to have life of our liking exist again through such an un-imaginable suffering setting… mamas it is history, American history; African –American history, Black history; a history to pass forth to our children.
In particular, this month I find myself captivated by Margaret Garner, an enslaved Black woman who in January of 1856 fled with her husband and four children from her enslavers in the state of Kentucky. They were successful in crossing the Ohio river into freedom territory yet “slave catchers”cornered the family shortly afterwards. In an unthinkable yet a deterrent choice Margaret sent her youngest daughter to heaven before allowing her to be a slave once more. It is said she attempted to reach her other children to end their slave lives as well. But she was unsuccessful. Following this devastating family terror, the Hamilton County, held a grand jury and convicted Mr. and Mrs. Garner on murder charges and as they were imprisoned they were returned to Kentucky to be bound in slavery and back to the plantation they escaped from-hence the novel inspired “Beloved,” by the great writer Toni Morrison. I say all this to say, the strength yet the complex struggle a Black woman faced in our troubling nation’s history endears me to be the best mama I can to Mason, I owe the Garners and many more this right, privilege and honor. The reality of mamas facing intricate, complexity in our American society is not anew, yet our strides become more and more bountiful and that is from our roots; we encapsulate what it means to make it through. For Margaret Garner wanted freedom for her children, she was prepared to die for it, and her blood did… If I could place her in our millennial times oh the mother she would be!
This makes February a month of dignity and self-respect to know we come from a heritage so rich that we are basically unstoppable even ‘bootless”as our forefather Rev. Dr., Martin Luther King, Jr., explained so eloquently. So, as a mama I challenged myself to have a 28 and a 365 day attempt, goals to complete by this month and where I see myself a year from today. See, I have no time to waste and be restless no further for so many died for my family to exist today. I hope this month brings all mamas so much strength and I know you will find yourself with overflowing vision.
Our history made it through mental anguish, loss of relatives, excruciating physical pain and misery, loss of native tongue and rituals, childless lives, sexual deviances and experiments on their bodies and so much more. Slavery isn’t something so simple as it ended 150 years ago; this was not furlong with all due respect, and the aftermaths following were no holiday either. The existence of my physical body began with my grandmother Elaine (just typing her name in a blog made me proud to be her grand-daughter, I miss you…). Mamas develop eggs as a fetus, making each of us much closer to our family’s Margaret then one actually realizes. This month, reminds me to dig for this fortitude and perseverance on a daily. To let road-blocks be road signs to take an alternate route, to find my way and mark as a mama and to know this path is sacred and my life and its meaning is so purposeful and we have every ability to make it forthcoming; also known as “blessed.” The price of your dream and your children’s dreams has been paid for tenfold mamas, claim it. I dare myself to claim Mason’s.