The Greatest Woman in History: A Rock

The woman, a peasant, in the field, worked from dusk to dawn to reap its yield, she dug and planted yam to feed her fam. Sorghum, too, its grass to line the beds where her children lay their heads. Her husband was a farmer, hunter and went off to fight, while the woman kept the home fires alight. She cooked, she weaved. She traded in the market.

She has five children. One grew up; she got married young. The others still lived at home, their skin black and smooth, their smiles big and bright, like their eyes. Another she carried silently within. Then men came with talking sticks, that barked loud fire words. The villagers ran for the forest, tho their flight did them no good. They captured her, she fought and strained. And then tied and bound she was led down to a ship, thrown in its hold, dark and cold.

For forty nites upon the seas, she lay there chained amidst death and disease. When at last she emerged upon the deck, it was in a storm the ship was wrecked; her captors led her to the shore where she would see her Motherland nevermore. She was bought and sold to work a field not her own, when the sixth child was born. The last member of her old fam, so the master let her grow then sold her to another man.

Raped and sold at twelve the girl caught hell, beat and worked like a mule, reviled for her black skin. Preached at, raped again, the women took her in. She planted and plucked the cotton, she hated her life. One day she ran away and ran and ran until she was free. Then she went back. She returned to her old plantation, saw her momma’s face, in the dark. Her mother’s broken gaze by the dim fire light.

That nite she stole away, with her mother close behind, running, until they were beyond the reach of slavery.

The girl went back. No longer a girl anymore, she returned time and again until she stole away with three hundred men, women and children. A thief, a bounty on her head. Stealing property from wealthy slave owners. She traveled with a gun, on her railroad, underground.

She peeled the caps of the Confederates; behind enemy lines, disguised as a washerwoman, she signaled the Union spies. Slave girl, runaway, mother redeemer, Mata Hari.

Her children grew. One came to rule in Liberia far away. Another girl who once knew slavery, grew into a woman, started a business with her man. They grew influential, their plan to lead their community. Then instability. The crackers rose, burnt the town, lynched her man, the people fled. She wept and bled a rage that burned within all her living days. Jim Crow ruled the world when five crackers raped her then. She gave birth to a girl.

A girl became a woman who watched Jim Crow shrink, it never really disappeared. However, she raised a family and those she reared came along in a new age. She joined a movement called Black Power. Instead of the cracker mob the police took the job to lynch her man. They shot up her house, killing a party captain. Her man, drugged by a snitch lay in bed; the cops dragged him out and put a bullet in his head. She fled before the pigs made a tomb for the baby in her womb. Underground and on the run, she gave birth to her first, and last.

Another generation born. That girl became a woman whom, for reasons unknown, strayed from the path which marked her way. She, from a line so proud and bold, broke down in the dark cold winter of the racist summer, picked up the pipe, smoked the crack and never turned back. She sucked and whored thru the streets, never finding rest for her feet or her head. Raped, bobbed, beaten. Homelessness. Sometimes she went dirty begging for money, ended up in jail. Out, on the bricks, suckin you kno what for a few dirty dollars from tricks, lifting wallets and stuff. Her babies raised by the eldest of five, if that aint jive tell me who is going to make sure they thrive.

Eldest daughter started slinging, got caught up in the slaughter, took a fall from the government war against us all. And now she went to prison where she somehow came into another understanding of her place in this world. Lots of lessons to learn there yet she tried Jesus, then somewhere a book that turned her life around. When she got loose things had changed. The world appeared different. Her mother, beat down, broken cracked out still. Her sisters and brothers, some were well and some were ill. This one picked up and trod a different road, the road to liberty in a land where freedom was built on slavery.

Dreadlocks, cowries shells, sound of the cow bells and congos, the rhythm runs deep.

A woman standing up for liberation against injustice. Fighting for her children. Women raped in the Congo, she fights for that to end. Women, old women, who lost their pensions and homes and families in the financial swindles tear at her heart. Refugees from Darfur, in a strange land, their women dragging children behind them, clothed in headscarves and ankle-length skirts, arrive at the welfare office where she greets them and tries to make them feel at home. Lesbians turned out by their families. Runaway school girls at the bus depot, scooped up by her before the pimps suck their blood. Families without healthcare, they need a fighter, too.

Any woman working, feeding and clothing her family. Any woman, loving her man. Any woman, liberating her nation and standing tall against the odds, bleeding Harriet Tubman, Samora Machel, Mumia Abu-Jamal. The African Woman, the future, our mothers and lovers, our sweetest comfort when we BLACK MEN stand up and strike for right! When you have touched the women, you have struck a mountain.

For our Sisters. Eternal love and respect.

The Greatest Women in History.

March. African Womens Month.