Our Soul Is the Witness
By Jerhretta Suite
few years ago, I was threatened on a job site.
My last thought was of calling the police.
Actually, I had no thought of calling the police.
My first and only thought was to call my MAN.
We paid dearly for me having confidence in him. When the
police were called to "save the day"—not by me, mind you—the “script was flipped."
The threatened, the victim, the “good guy” in the
script became the accused.
We became the threat.
But, if we had to do it again, we would.
the question is, do most sisters defer to brothers to protect
them? In a recent
broadcast news story concerning the rape of a Black Woman in
Baltimore, a brother in the background cried out, “Who is
going to protect these black women?”
His cry for help referred to the lack of police
protection offered in our communities.
My response to his cry, “YOU, brother!”
I understand our right to be protected just like other
“citizens,” his cry for help saddened and sickened me.
It was as if he had not been Black in America all his
life. True, I do
not know the brother, but I do know that ours is a tentative
the only true protection Sisters have are Brothers.
Our history in this country should be proof enough that
if our well-being is going to be attended to, we must attend to
it. Why do we
keep expecting anything other than what we receive from folks
other than ourselves?
district police commissioner issued a memorandum mandating that
all black males that entered the area, where the Sister was
raped, be stopped as suspects.
through memos we are being terrorized.
What’s new? Inherently
exclusive memos in this country, also referred to as laws,
terrorize us every minute of every hour of every century that we
succumb to this psychological beating.
I am in no way suggesting that the suspicion of all or
any Black males be condoned.
I am suggesting that we stop crying about it and place
our lives in our own hands.
Of course, I do not want to feel my brothers terrorized
because of the intimidating truth of melanin; but I do want to
see, feel, hear and know that my brothers are protecting us
because of the majesty of our melanin. And, because our genetic
memory demands that we protect us.
Our concern must be with what we are doing, not with what
other folks are or are not doing for us.
We are so often, so easily diverted from our real issues.
One being that a sister is hurting. Sisters are hurting.
Brothers are hurting. Our
sister is hurting. I
trust that the Ancestors will heal her heart, body and soul.
other real issue is that we refuse to control our own lives.
Only we can heal us.
Only we can protect us. So, “You, brother! You protect us.”
You are going to protect us or we are not going to be
brothers, I am tired of the rhetoric, as I watch you step past,
walk around, close doors on and make excuses about why you
can’t get along with the women who look just like your
mothers. I am tired
of the rhetoric espousing the greatness of our Ancestors without
honoring their work through continued
words, ‘til action. No
more crying out about who is going to do something for us unless
we are crying out to us. No
more insults to the
Ancestors by burying our heads in the very earth their blood
are not weak shoulders we wobble on.
The Ancestors’ shoulders are strong enough to stand on. So, stand on them. No
more “intellectuals” over analyzing an answer. The solution
is simple. Your
women; you protect!
a sister seems afraid of you, show her that she does not have to
be. So what if your
feelings get hurt. Better
us than a memo. Besides,
we are worth it. This
is not a “slamming the brothers” piece.
This piece is about our peace.
It’s about love: our true, enduring love for each
I remember a time when I shushed my husband
when he was taking a stand I thought would hurt us.
Then he helped me realize, that if I wanted a man, I had
to be a woman. And,
that if I loved him, truly, the way I proclaimed, I could not
suffocate his manhood as if we were slaves afraid to become
"strange fruit." The
traditional Poplar Tree is not the only method of madness used
to lynch us. We must not lose our minds in other people’s madness.
use is the body if we can’t protect it? What use are we to us
if we don’t come to terms with our fear of white folks and
why? Once we state
that fear and the reason, it will start to dissolve.
What use is our body if we don’t have our own mind?
For that matter, my husband explained, we might as well
be the fruit that Billie sings about if we don’t honor our
Ancestors—our genetic memory.
Or perhaps what James Baldwin wrote was correct “[Our]
ain’t our soul the witness?
quote by James Baldwin, “My memory stammers: but my soul is a
witness.” From, The Evidence Of Things Not Seen)
* * *
* * * * *
Salvage the Bones
A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost
* * * * *
Incognegro: A Memoir of
Exile and Apartheid
By Frank B. Wilderson, III
Wilderson, a professor,
writer and filmmaker from
presents a gripping account
of his role in the downfall
of South African apartheid
as one of only two black
Americans in the African
National Congress (ANC).
After marrying a South
African law student, Wilderson reluctantly
returns with her to South
Africa in the early 1990s,
where he teaches
Johannesburg and Soweto
students, and soon joins the
military wing of the ANC.
portrait of Nelson Mandela
as a petulant elder eager to
accommodate his white
countrymen will jolt readers
who've accepted the
usually accorded him. After
the assassination of
Mandela's rival, South
African Communist Party
leader Chris Hani, Mandela's
regime deems Wilderson's
public questions a threat to
national security; soon,
having lost his stomach for
the cause, he returns to
Wilderson has a
distinct, powerful voice and
a strong story that shuffles
between the indignities of
Johannesburg life and his
early years in Minneapolis,
the precocious child of
academics who barely
tolerate his emerging
about love within and across
the color line and cultural
divides are as provocative
as his politics; despite
digressions, this is a
riveting memoir of
apartheid's last days.—Publishers
* * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
* * * * *
update 31 March 2012