"How long shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles?"
Maria W. Stewart, "Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality, 1832
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
The Declaration of Independence, 1774
About the Photos (L to R):
Brittany "Bree" Newsome, June 2015
Ieshia Evans, July 2016
Hosed Woman, May 8, 1963
Young women at March on Washington, August 1963
Define your freedom.
By 1808, Maria was an orphan. She was five years old. By 26, her husband was dead. Not much longer, her mentor, David Walker, and her pastor, Thomas Paul were also dead. She was a nineteenth century black woman without a male head-of-household and that was dangerous. Her life was dangerous, but through the power of the written word, Maria found her agency. Maria was a creative resister. Although her freedom was constantly in question due to the color of her skin, Maria was a free agent. She pioneered what scholar Patricia Hill Collins has described as "black feminist thought".
I invite you to journey with me on my blog as we examine the lives of some of the black Christian women in American history who were not free (according to the definitions of freedom offered in the United States) but who found freedom within themselves, within their communities, and in the loving arms of their Creator. The black women I will write about were young and old, teachers, and artists, and thinkers, and religious leaders, who refused to accept the limitations that their blackness and their womanhood placed on their lives in the United States. I invite you into the full depth and breadth of their stories. I invite you to befriend them, to love them, to know them, because they are not exemplars of their race and gender; they are ordinary women whom the historical archives have not yet managed to erase. They were free agents.
Choose your freedom.