Mothers are by far the most special creatures on the planets. Literally bringing life into this world with the ability to nurture and support that there offspring into becoming its own full grown human. My goodness, the miracle of life is astounding! As this special day dawns on us, it’s important to reflect on the powerful, courageous, and inspiring mothers who’ve come before the rest of us, braved adversity for us, so we could make more of us! But really, as we look forward to this Mother’s Day we’d like to shine a light on some of the most courageous mothers in history.
Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist from Mississippi who helped get Black people o vote. She is most well known for founding the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In 1964, she appear before the 1964 before the Democratic National Committee’s credentials panel on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to appeal a block on Black participation. Her speech became one of the most powerful speeches of the Civil Rights Movement. Not to mention, according to White House tapes, President Lyndon B. Johnson was so intimidated he wouldn’t sleep the night before. He would eventually sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In 1961, Fannie Lou Hamer was not able to have children after receiving an unlawful hysterectomy while undergoing surgery for a uterine tumor. This was the South’s way of forced sterilization among Black women was a sick means of reducing the Black population. It’s been called the “Mississippi Appendectomy.” Hamer, not being able to have any children of her own, Hamer and her husband adopted two girls.
Recy Taylor was the brave Black woman on Oprah’s lips during her powerful “Me Too” speech at the 2018 Golden Globes. Taylor, a mother and sharecropper, was walking home from church in Abbeville, Alabama when she was abducted and gang raped by six white men in September of 1944. At the time of the rape, Taylor and her husband had a 3-year old daughter Joyce Lee. Taylor refused to stay silent despite living in the Jim Crow South and brought attention to the atrocities around its racist rape culture. The crime was heavily publicized by the Black press and N.A.A.C.P. activist Rosa Parks (yes, that Rosa Parks) and Taylor identifying her attackers, no one was indicted.
We all know she’s a powerhouse, but let’s remember that the tennis star was 8-weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open in 2017. Moreover, after giving birth she experienced life-threatening complications. To make matters worse, medical staff didn’t believe in her pain, an unfortunate common occurrence among Black patients. Williams remained in the hospital for a week and was released on orders of bed rest for another six weeks at her home.
The accomplished actress has been more than open about her struggles to become pregnant, opening the gates for many women to openly discuss the taboo subject. In her memoir “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” Union revealed that she’d suffered “eight or nine miscarriages.” Her willingness to reveal her pregnancy complications inspired many women to feel more comfortable with the topic as well as the fact that it is more common than we think.The 46-year old and her husband Dwayne Wade, welcomed baby Kaavia James Union Wade via surrogate on November 7, 2018.
Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and civil rights and women’s rights activist known for speaking out on racial inequality. She was born into slavery but escaped with her baby girl in 1826. In 1828, she’d appear in court to obtain her son who was illegally sold into slavery. She won the case, becoming known as the first Black woman to take a white man to court and win. In 1851, she would deliver the iconic “Aint I A Woman” Speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron. She would then dedicate her life to freeing slaves and advocating for women’s rights.
Josephine Baker is known for her performances as a French entertainer. She was born in St. Louis Missouri, but would perform mostly in Europe, becoming an iconic figure and symbol of the Jazz Age. She was the first African-American to star in a major-motion picture, a 1927 silent film called Siren of the Tropics. Baker was also known for her support of the Civil Rights Movement, in which she would refuse to perform for segregated audiences. Baker was also one of the very few women to speak at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. In the 1950s, Baker would begin to adopt children from all different backgrounds. The 12 kids would come to be known as her “Rainbow Tribe.” This was Bakers way of again proving that people of different backgrounds can live
Geneva Reed-Veal is the mother of Sandra Bland. She ought and filed the wrongful death suit in federal court against Encinia, Waller County jailers, Waller County and the DPS after her daughter, Sandra Bland, was stopped for failing to signal. The officer arrested Bland who recorded the entire via cell phone. Reed-VEal’s daughter was found dead in her jail cell 72 hours later, ruled a suicide. Reed-Veal agreed to settle it for $1.9 million. Reed-Veal, like many other Black mothers, shouldn’t have to go through the process of burying their child due to overbearingly hostile and racist police. While the event are misfortunate, Bland who her self suffered a miscarriage, is thought of a mother of the Black Lives Matter movement in death. Now, the 28-year old’s cell phone footage has been unearthed proving the “intimidated” police office was actually quite aggressive. The video also shows that Bland didn’t cower in his presence, but held her camera firmly and overtly in front of her. The Bland family, even in the face of adversity, is calling for the case to be re-opened.
Lastly, we honor Your Mom or the mother figure in your life who inspires you, encourages you, and supports you. We honor her for all she’s done to shape you. Happy Mother’s Day!