Nationally relevant

Ode to the Black Woman

ONLY A BLACK WOMAN

Can take a week of leftover scraps

and make a gourmet meal

Can cuss a man out, then make love to him

that night and make him feel like a king.

Can wear a burgundy French roll, 3-inch heels

and a split up her thigh to work and

make it look professional.

ONLY A BLACK WOMAN

Can wear the hell out of Spandex

Can raise a doctor, a world-class athlete

and an A+ student in an environment

deemed by society as dysfunctional,

broken, underprivileged and disenfranchised.

Can heat a whole house in the winter

without help from the gas company.

Can go from the boardroom to the block

and “keep it real” in both places.

Can slap the taste out of your mouth.

ONLY A BLACK WOMAN

Can put a Black man and his non-Black date

on pins and needles just

by walking into the room.

Can live below poverty level

and yet set fashion trends.

Can fight two struggles everyday

and make it look easy.

Can make a child happy on Christmas day

even if he didn’t get a thing.

Can be admired and fantasized

about by men of other races.

Can be 75 years old and look 45.

ONLY A BLACK WOMAN

Can make other women want

to pay plastic surgeons top

$$$ for physical features

she was already born with.

ONLY A BLACK WOMAN

can be the mother of civilization.

Black,

And strong,

Different words,

Same meaning.

She is a strong Black woman.

Captured and beaten,

Tied and bound,

You endured the Middle Passage,

Was dragged into a new land,

You held your head high.

You are a strong Black woman.

In the fields all day,

Hot, blazing sun beating down,

They stripped away your language,

They took your clothing and made you look like a slave,

But you never bowed,

You are a strong Black woman.

I saw you till the soil,

Bend your back to make things grow,

Saw you cooking food,

That you could not even eat,

Saw you washing clothes,

Mending shirts,

Growing flowers to adorn the house you could not sleep in.

And not once did you shed a tear,

You are a strong Black woman.

They bred you like horses,

And sold your children like they were dogs,

They took them away in chains,

While you stood screaming,

And then you prayed to God,

Because you are a strong Black woman.

In times of Jim Crow you shouldered the weight,

Brought food home when I could not even work,

Bore the children,

Cleaned the house,

And raised my children.

A strong Black woman.

You brought God inside,

So we could talk,

About our toils and pain,

You sat Him there and He listened,

And gave us relief,

We marched for freedom,

And you were at my side.

Went to jail when I did,

Stayed awake and held me in your lap.

You comforted my every fear,

Gave me courage when I had none.

Washed my face with the hem of your dress,

Cleansed the matter from my eyes so I could see,

Prayed for me when I did not for my self.

You are a strong Black woman.

You taught me to read

You taught me to write,

How to eat with a fork,

How to tie my tie,

You taught me grace and kindness,

You taught me how to treat my fellow man,

You found the goodness in my heart,

And nurtured it and made it grow.

For all you’ve done I can never repay,

Nor can I do the same for you,

And despite all of that … you smile at me,

And pull me to your bosom for love,

I thank God for you,

And that you are a strong Black woman.

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