Here we go again. Another progressive – that’s what they called them back in my day – wants to walk a mile in my shoes. Well, I need to set the record straight on a few things:
We came in all colors.
We came in all sizes.
Some of us were young, and breathtakingly lovely
Some of us were old, with an inner beauty that only age and wisdom could bring
Some of us got way too much attention from our male employers and were propositioned
And some of us lived the nightmare of having white men who wouldn’t take no for an answer…
But God did not leave us to face this all alone.
For the valiant soldiers who stood with us to fight for equality were our men.
Men who tried to protect us and lost their lives in the process
Men who tried to do right by us, who sought employment up north and then sent for us.
Men who decided we should remain because the south would always be home. And so we carved out a life.
Men who’d hold us close and promise someday very soon, everything would be all right.
Men who agreed that our children needed to go to college, because education was the key.
Wasn’t always easy. But it was real. You see, for the REAL HELP there was no “I” but “WE”
WE faced the hatred together, not apart.
And that’s why the novel The Help gets on my last nerve.
It tells my story through someone else’s eyes
And I read no real affection for my people on the pages, no admiration in the words.
So let me tell you what I did not see, reflected in a book that claims to speak for me
No matter how roughly I was treated, I never thought my black skin was ugly.
No matter how badly I was spoken to, I never shut down.
No matter what wrong was done, my spirit could never be broken.
No matter what I was threatened with, I never lost faith in god.
Though my back was bent, in my mind I stood tall and proud
Yes, I wore the mask, but I never lost sight of who I was
Because if I’d been any less
My Daughters, don’t you see?
You wouldn’t be as strong, or as beautiful, as intelligent, and as fearless as you turned out to be.