Celebrating National Women’s History Month
Excerpt from Tuesday Morning Love: 52 Commentaries and Weekly Affirmations to Honor the Soul within the Souldier: From the chapter, “Keepers at the Gate.”
“Ain’t I a woman?” so wrote Isabella Baumfree, also known as Sojourner Truth, in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. One of the greatest speeches ever given on gender equality, Sojourner Truth must have known how far we could come.
When I was a school girl, I was taught about only a few women in history. Year after year, we read about inspiring sister soldiers like Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Phyllis Wheatley, Susan B. Anthony, and Marion Anderson. At that time, little did I know of the multiple generations of women that came before me, and not only helped to build the country, but also to facilitate much of its’ advancement.
The historical steps from these movements evolved into a single day in March of 1977, known as International Working Women’s Day, and was initially reserved by the United Nations to honor women’s rights and international peace. Each year, reflection is reserved for the struggles and strides of women across the globe, and tribute is paid for the opportunities granted and achievements made disregarding divisions, religion, culture, economics, politics, or linguistics.
The persistence, passion, and personal bravery of women in history have triumphed through many centuries. Margaret Brent advocated for human rights during the early 1600’s. Sojourner Truth raised money for black union soldiers and fought for prison reform and abolition. Susan B. Anthony became perhaps the most powerful organizer of the women’s movement of the 19th century. Zora Neale Hurston was declared the most prolific black woman writer of the 1930’s. Helen Keller not only overcame her own disabilities but wrote, lectured, and worked for social reform to promote progressive causes for persons with disabilities. Harriet Tubman led more than 300 slaves to freedom. Rosa Parks was a civil rights trail-blazer; meek-spirited but a strong-willed little woman with a big heart. Clara Barton was determined to care, teach, give, and act. Given the adversity and challenges that these women and many more had to endure, they make our present-day obstacles seem rather manageable.
As women, we are inspired by the political journeys of judicious minds like Barbara Jordan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Shirley Chisholm; the audacity of literary voices like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Alice Walker; and the vocal insurgence of melodic voices like Marion Anderson and Lena Horne. Their victories, crusades, words, and engagement brought about an extensive audacity for change in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Throughout history, women of all nationalities have been the keepers at the gate. The month of March bequeaths us with a responsibility to redeem our spirit, reflect on our journey, enlighten, honor, and embrace the considerable progress of women who came before us, and teach the women who will follow us. Queens of the past gave us much to consider – and left us with great legacies to model and continue to employ.
We remember our grandmothers who worked outside of the home yet kept our families grounded and our mothers who stitched our dresses from patterns of scratch and made canned preserves from the fruit we picked off the trees in the backyard. And now, there is us – the present-day keepers at the gate who courageously serve in capacities as mothers, sisters, community advocates, organizers, wives, grandmothers, caregivers, mentors, leaders of change, and guardians of our sisters. We are our sisters’ keeper and eventually, we realize just how many hats we wear, and that our obligations are varied, necessary, and divine.
Women revolutionize. Women lead. Women are strong. Women make a difference. Women are phenomenal.
While signing a proclamation that officially designated the month of March as Women’s History Month in the United States, President Obama said, “My Administration has elevated the rights of women and girls abroad as a critical aspect of our foreign and national security policy. Empowering women across the globe is not simply the right thing to do; it is also smart foreign policy.”
“Ain’t I a woman?”
Love and Light for your Tuesday!
Get the (Edited Edition) in paperback and Kindle version for a reduced price, limited time only. Offer made available on March 21st. Previous Kindle purchases will receive new updates. Thank you for your continued readership and support.