Many of us are familiar with this beautiful black and white collage created by Wishum Gregory. It commemorates some of the most amazing Black women from our past, while honoring some incredible Black women who still exist today. They represent some of the greatest Black female trailblazers and pioneers to have ever lived. They not only represent our History but they are what I like to call our Herstory.
Historically, Black women have had more struggles than anyone in this world. We have had many Black women who have paved the way. They have had to watch as our husbands and children had been sold off. They had been raped and beaten by the slave owners. Black women have had to nurse white women’s children with the milk from their breast. But this has made them stronger and more determined to succeed.
They have had great visions that have allowed them to see beyond their circumstances and outside of the box. They have had the kind of spirits that couldn’t be broken and wouldn’t let them quit, no matter what anyone said or thought. Women like Dorothy Dandridge, Mary MacLeod Bethune, Harriet Tubman, and many others have risen to the challenge, despite of the disadvantages created by social structures. Some Black women like, Gwendolyn Brooks and Billie Holiday used their talents to promulgate social justice.
In 1940 Mary Church Terrell wrote, “A white woman has only one handicap to overcome—a great one, true, her sex; a colored woman faces two—her sex and her race.” She was right, then and it still remains true today. We have had to face sexism and racism, but we always have to deal with the socialism in the world and among ourselves. Society has placed so many different labels on Black women; Bitches, Whores, Baby mamas and unfortunately, many of us have bought into it. We wear the labels as if there are badges of honors.
Then, there is the socialism among Black women. We have been fooled and bamboozled to believe that we are better than our sisters, because of the differences of our hair textures, skin colors, body shapes and educational levels. The fact is that, at the end of the day, we are all still Black women. We should celebrate our differences, #ourblackisbeautiful. We must become more united. Other hashtags like #Blackgirlmagic and #Blackgirlsrock are being used to describe the empowerment of Black women today.
Yes, Black women are beautiful, strong and resilient. There is no doubt that we are rich in our history as a Black race, but as Black women, I believe if it had not been for the sacrifices we as Black have made, where would this world be. This is why we at Real Women Atlanta magazine take pride in tell our Herstory, not just in the month of February, but all year long.