My daughter and I checked out a great book from the library the other day. My daughter actually picked it out, and I didn't realize what a gem she'd found until we read it together. With Black History Month coming up soon, it would be a great book to share with your kids/class. It's called Voices of the Dream, edited by Venice Johnson. It contains moving quotes from African-American women, and the quotes are accompanied by art by African-American women. Women quoted include Barbara Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Mahalia Jackson (my favorite gospel singer), and many others. Here are a couple of my favorites:
"It's easy to be independent when you've got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing - that's the Lord's test." - Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972)
"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?...I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me - and ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well - and ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen them most all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard - and ain't I a woman?" - Sojourner Truth (c.1797 - 1883)
I'll never know what it's like to be anything other than the race that I am. But reading the words from these women's hearts brought me a little bit closer to understanding what they've gone through over the years. And the artwork is beautiful as well.