On Facebook, I have seen a few black women friends starting/continuing a ‘gratitude challenge’, where they post three things that they are thankful for. At a time when we see the situation in Ferguson escalating, it makes sense that my friends would do a small challenge to keep their spirits high. Here is my contribution–a series of things that made me happy, and a way I can honor all the black women who have gone before me.
1. I wandered around my house in a pretty dress and no makeup, read a book set in the Reconstruction Era, and pretended to be living in the 19th century. No one in my family thought this was odd.
2. I read Langston Hughes’ Tambourines to Glory (1958) and loved every moment of it. It’s about two women who start a church to hustle people out of money–only one actually begins to follow Jesus.
When Laura talks about her mother, I perk up like I can learn some lessons about how to deal with men. She said this:
“Essie, I got it from my mama. My mother could jive a man back, make him run and butt his head against the wall, lay down his month’s salary at her feet, then beg her for a nickle.” (86)
I thought: #YASSSSSS
3. For at least 15 minutes, I wondered what MSNBC would look like if Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Anna Julia Cooper, and Pauline Hopkins were still alive. They could tell someone to have ALL the seats. They wrote eloquently about Christian theology, Greek mythology, world history, and literature without blinking an eye. They transformed Christian womanhood. But when is the last time I heard a popular pastor reference them in a sermon?
4. We had fried chicken for dinner. I took a walk with my brothers–my sister was still at work–and I thanked God every single second that they are still alive, safe, and running me ragged with their teasing.
5. Poetry is a necessary luxury.
In the words of Laura:
“They made women in them days–and I take somewhat after her myself. But the rest of Mama’s children turned out to be nothing–all fell by the wayside–except me, Sister Laura Reed. I’m a strong branch of b—h myself.”
“…Laura poured another drink, lifted her glass, and made a toast to herself in the mirror.
To Miss B—h!”
— (Hughes 88)