Women’s History Month Tribute

The contribution of women to the forward flow of human civilization is a hidden chapter in the unfolding of world history. Women have achieved in spite of gender, race and class barriers making profound contributions in all areas of life and society. They have refused to let men or limits of society downgrade their aspirations. Poet Maya Angelou spoke for all women when she wrote Still I Rise.

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Our of the Huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from the past rooted in pain

I rise

Leaving Behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Women, to be sure, have always had something special to offer and teach the world. In this first of four part Women’s History Month weekly series, we feature in the voices of women in their own voices.

Women in Their Own Voices

On Leadership: We can not lead a struggle that involves the masses of people without getting the people to understand what their potentials are, what their strengths are.

Ella Baker

On Work: I don’t believe in luck. It’s persistence, hard work, and not forgetting your dreams.

-Janet Jackson

On Success: For everyone of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody thee to show you the way out. The light doesn’t necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.

-Oprah Winfrey

On Male and Female Relations: All I claim is that there is a feminine as well as masculine side to truth; that these are related not as inferior and superior, not as better or worse, not as weaker and stronger, but as complements-complements in one necessary and symmetric whole.

-Anna Julia Cooper

Racial Dignity: I want blacks to maintain their human dignity at all cost. We as blacks must recognize that we are the custodians as well as the heirs of a great civilization. We have given something special to the world as a race, and for this we are proud and fully conscious of our place in the total picture of humankind’s development.

Mary McLoed Bethune

On Life: We are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love and die. The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrow, is always a measure of what has gone before us.

-Alice Walker

On Hope: We never lost hope because we had adults who gave us a sense of future and black folks had an extra lot of problems and we were taught that we could struggle and change them.

-Marian Wright Edelman

On Work and Family: Our history as black women is the history of women who could build a house and have some children, and there was no problem. What we have known is how o be complete human beings. To lose this is to diminish ourselves unnecessarily.

-Toni Morrison

On Love: Let there be there be new flowering in the fields

Let the fields turn mellow for the men

Let the men keep tender through the time

Let the time be wrested from the war

Let the war be won

Let love be at the end

-Lucille Clifton

Part two of this series will feature women in literature.

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