“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come, get up and make them. I got my start by giving myself a start.” ~Madam C. J. Walker
Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867, orphaned by 7, married by 14 and a widowed mother by 20 Sarah Breedlove would change her name to Madam C. J. Walker. Her life would be a journey from the cotton fields to being recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the first woman to become a millionaire by her own achievements.
Madam C. J. Walker hired thousands of employees and would eventually open up her own factory in Indianapolis as she expanded her business internationally to Jamaica, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama and Haiti. Madam C. J Walker’s enterprise still exists today; their official website is www.madamwalker.net .
Last week we began the discussion about beginning again and making the choice to see ourselves as victors and not victims and to have a brighter vision and bolder dreams for Black Americans. And as promised I wanted to take this week’s topic to honestly talk about what many have come to believe is an impediment to opportunities for Black Americans – RACISM.
Webster’s Dictionary defines racism as: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. And yet for those of us who have been brutally abused by racism we acknowledge that Webster’s definition is lacking. There is a hurt that is deeply felt by the wounded that is absent in the Webster’s definition and I refuse to ignore what I believe still exists.I also refuse to grant or to give it more authority and control than what I believe it deserves.
There are racist today and there will be racist tomorrow. There were racist in the days of Madam C. J. Walker. And yet she went on to great achievements. Madam C. J. Walker’s vision and dreams for herself were bigger that the racism she endured.
We must follow in her footsteps and others like her who boldly went beyond the borders of racism and declared for her a grand space in history. Can we change the hearts of racist? I don’t know and honestly I don’t care. Can we make a new reality for Black America? Yes! Racism is not our fight, our fight is one within. How others see us is not more important than how we see ourselves.
The God that created us and knows us, loves us just as we are and that is all the validation we need!
Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed that “he has been to the mountain top, and we as a people will get to the promised land” Black America, open your eyes and see that we have reached the promised land, now let us begin to live as full citizens in this great land and proclaim that we are FREE AT LAST!
Join me next week as we continue the discussion.