1619 Celebration of Black Women Tribute Poem
by Leah Goodwin 3/2/2019
Black women arrived in 1619
But what does that mean?
A journey we did not ask for.
A story of pain,
A story of hope,
A story that’s strong,
It is yours and it’s mine,
It is right and it’s wrong.
Women and men and little children
Born in Mother Africa
Sold into slavery
Our strength helped us survive in this new country
This land of the free
Has been and still is a dichotomy
We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors
We knew that the power was in our very blood
And we were not going to let this journey drive us into the mud.
The life of slavery
Was a human atrocity
1746 Lucy Terry, who was sold into slavery as an infant,
became a free woman and in 1756 picked up her paper and pen
and wrote the first poem we know about back then.
Followed soon after in 1773
Books of poems were published by the prolific Phillis Wheatley
Time moves on and Women stay strong,
They move to the melody of their very own song.
In the 1800’s, Harriet Beecher Stowe, gave us Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The voice of Sojourner Truth proclaimed “Ain’t I A Woman?”
Harriet Tubman followed that North Star,
And in 1863 President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing millions and changing the nation
We moved forward, to schools to better jobs to new situations,
It was the precursor to the great migration.
Charlotte Ray was admitted to the Washington, DC bar; in 1872
she graduated that year from Howard University yes –“H. U.”
A door had been opened, things weren’t like before
We invented things, we became teachers, and nurses and more
Mary McLeod Bethune earned her place in history
When she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute to educate black girls and served as its president in 1943.
Madam C. J. Walker took care of our hair
becoming the first American women to become a self-made millionaire.
Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat,
Started a movement to desegregation,
That changed the nation.
Dorothy Height led the National Council of Negro Women
all the way to the March on Washington.
It was time to show the world who we are
from athletes, to politics, to reaching the stars
Wilma Rudolph, our first Olympic gold medalist, in track and field – Yes, she won three
Katherine Johnson helped to send America’s first human spaceflight to the moon to earn her place in history.
Shirley Chisholm was the first to be elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, serving us with a heart of resilience
She also went on to make a run for President
Mae Carol Jemison traveled on the space shuttle Endeavor.
Carol Moseley Braun was elected to serve in the U. S. Senate, she was so brilliant and clever.
Forward was the only way to make up for lost time
There was no mountain too tall for us to climb
Jocelyn M. Elders was appointed as the U. S. Surgeon General.
Toni Morrison wins the Nobel Prize in Literature for Beloved, her novel.
Serena Williams won the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Tennis Championship which was just the beginning, she moves on and to this day she just keeps on winning.
Billions of tears
We stand here today
We see Oprah Winfrey, Simone Biles, Halle Barry, Michelle Obama, and now Kamala!
The living legacies of Mother Africa
The pride of our Grandmothers
We know how to keep our eyes on the prize
And as Dr. Maya Angelou stated
And still I/WE RISE
We have a DNA strand of creativity
It’s Black Lives Matter’s Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi
We have a purpose, a plan, we have super powers
Because we are the seeds that were planted
400 years ago
Together we will bloom into a million magnificent flowers.
The After February Blues for y’all….
From Leah Goodwin 1995
How would you feel
If I told you it is real
the after February Blues
Well, I’ll tell you where I am
See Some bo-dee-y
a month for Black Histo-ry
the month for love.
and somebody must realize
being the shortest month of the year
and being the month for blacks and lovers
could be a hard month
for blacks and lovers ….here
are many similarities
Black Americans have a never-ending battle
against American hatred
prejudice and genocide
Lovers have to be brave
and find a way to make the love survive.
You follow my direction
Black lovers celebrate a short month …. where
Roses are red and Black is the thing to do.
Making a happy – but short recognition of self
Making a month of joy
in a year full of work.
Making a busy month of the year
Where we celebrate blackness
Where we celebrate love
Where we celebrate ourselves
and our black love
and then it is March
and we are not in the news
we are back to being denied and
no one wants to hear our views
and we find ourselves feeling a little abused
as we feel those — after February Blues.
Leah was honored to be an Emcee for the MOXIE Theatre’s 2018 MOXIE Awards on May 20.
Leah Goodwin among BAPAC Honorees 2018
Leah Goodwin and other Hidden Figures Award recipients on April 14, 2018.
On behalf of the Sempra Energy HQ LDIC, I want to thank you so much for speaking at our Black History Month Lunch-N-Learn today! It was such a pleasure meeting you both and your engaging presentations were fantastic! Being able to bring both a local and national perspective on some of the civil rights struggles of the past and what work is still to be done was valuable and informative. I hope our paths will cross again in the future.
Amy G. Nefouse
WELCOME TO MY MUSINGS
Here I will share custom poems, excerpts, videos of poetry readings, interviews and the like. Please choose from the categories in the sidebar, or scroll through using the buttons below. Love, Leah
MOXIE Awards 2017 Winners
2017 MOXIE Honorees
Leah Goodwin is Honored with 2017 MOXIE Award
Leah Goodwin was selected from among hundreds of nominations to receive a 2017 (inaugural year) MOXIE Award from MOXIE Theatre, honoring San Diego women with grit and determination.
Hold on to your heart
Hold on to your hope
Hold on to each other
Remember the promise, the gift and the glory of the movement
Hold on to your dreams
Hold on to your truth
Hold on to love
Remember your very own stories, your ancestors
the soul of who you are is full of this power
Hold on to the future
Hold on to the promise
Of true freedom in this land
Remember the promise that together we can
Build a world where all colors can walk hand and hand
Hold on to the torn pieces of fabric
We can sew them back together
Remember that we must be strong
We cannot give in, or let go, or forget
Together we will fulfill the dream of a free nation
With love as our sword, on the wings of the dove we soar
To that day when we ain’t gonna study war no more…
Dear sisters and brothers
“We are the ones we’ve been looking for”
Leah Goodwin • February 6, 2015
Written for spoken word presentation during ROAR with SOUL* worship service
*Resist Oppression And Racism with a Spirit of Openness, Understanding and Love
Laughing at Love (or six easy steps to allowing love into your life) is an inspirational, poetic journey into the lighter side of relationships. Each chapter begins with a poem and inspires the reader to take a chance on love, celebrate the love that is present, even if for a moment, and basically lighten up in the areas of commitment, “forever,” and the need to control. Love is a joy, each experience a gift, each opportunity a treasure, so go ahead and laugh about it — it is better than crying. I will post more about this book when it is published.
Laughing at Love
Laughing at Love
even though at times I feel like crying
Laughing at Love
is much better than dying
Laughing at Love
is a way to keep on trying
Laughing at Love is the cure,
ain’t no denying.
- Step one: Is there joy in it?
- Step two: Stay in the game
- Step three: It don’t mean a thing, even when you get the ring!
- Step four: Love, lament, honor what you learn
- Step five: Become the love you want
- Step six: The choice is yours — choose love
© Leah Goodwin | 2008