I Am Because They Were

I Am Because They Were

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” 

—Toni Morrison


As we celebrate Black History Month we are embraced by the pioneers and trailblazers of change across all areas of Black American History. But today, I pay homage to Black Women Authors who dared to write and tell their stories and dreams. As a newly published author, I am living through the advancements made by authors such as Phillis Wheatley, who was a poet and not only the first African American to publish a book but was the first to achieve an international reputation as a writer. Poetry creates an emotional response that dances with your soul and enlightens your mind. Wheatley said it best “Thou didst, in strains of eloquence refin’d, inflame the soul, and captivate the mind.”

Being an author, means my voice will be present forever, my word essence is eternal. I am inspired to write my dreams and lift my voice because those before me were courageous and brave. Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman was one of the first poems I memorized as a 12-year-old girl. I did not embrace the words until I was much older. As I read these words “The span of my hips. The stride of my step….” It just makes me walk confidently, swaying my hips a little harder and having my head held high. I got a P on my chest…okay!

Toni Morrison was another author I grew up reading. The first book I read by Morrison was The Bluest Eyes, although this book may have been controversial for some. It depicted the harsh reality of being a young dark skin girl in America during the 1940s. It also addressed how hurtful racism is and how it affects generations of people impacting their self-confidence and worth. As a child, I felt awkward, being tall and dark skin. Although now I embrace my uniqueness and beauty, I connected with Pecola-the character on wishing she could have something that would make her special.  

Reading is so powerful it stirs up emotions of hope to rage, love to hate, sadness to happiness…

Thank you, Black Women Poets/Writers, for your work!

·       Octavia E Butler

·       Zora Neale Hurston

·       Gwendolyn Brooks

·       Lorraine Hansberry

·       Nikki Giovanni

·       Bell Hooks

·       Angela Davis

·       Ida B. Wells

·       Assata Shakur

·       Terry McMillan

And the list goes on…

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.  I rise. I rise. I rise.” —Maya Angelou