The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight.Fredrick Douglass— “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”
I am a Black woman who, against all odds, has given birth 6 times in victory (I am alive to write about it) and in absolute freedom.
In the face of infertility, miscarriage, homelessness, poverty, sickness, familial turmoil, and racism I still managed to birth FREE: unassisted, at home, and even once in a hospital.
I have no eloquent thoughts about this but as I read the opening quote to Fredrick Douglass’ speech, I understand on a level deep in my soul exactly what he means. Here he is, standing on a stage—not just free— but speaking over others who are free; giving testimony to his journey against the forces still fighting to keep him in chains.
I can’t help but draw a correlation.
Here I am. I’m from Mississippi; the Delta; the poorest part of the poorest state from possibly the most rural place on Earth. Here I am–not just alive, but encouraging and teaching other Black women to live.
I’ve spoken on stages, written in publications, graced podcasts, and local television screens, and really all I’m trying to say, all I really want Black women to know is that birth and life are abundantly available to us.
All this fear choking us is a lie.
So while our numbers of maternal and infant deaths remain higher than our white counterparts…while we, in many instances, merely survive birth, we are also in many cases thriving and enjoying birth.
Comment 🙋🏾♀️ below if you want my help with your own birth.
Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this dayFrederick Douglass
presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in
operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery.
“The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore,
leave off where I began, with hope.
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