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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington
Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Ultimate Concern for the unwrapping of the Gift of Christmas would lead to the Magi.  Considered as Wise Men who came the distance, through a meeting with Herod; and through a ‘Dream’ that would lead them to defy the orders given to them by this King.  They were ‘seeking’… and they found an infant, born and given the name ‘Jesus’.  We have heard this Story told year after year… long before, during and after the ‘days of our lives’ —if born into the Christian Faith.  These Wise Men brought gifts to the Baby Jesus, showering him with Gold and Frankincense and Myrrh —Gifts of love and sacrifice upon which the tradition and foundation of ‘giving gifts’ during the Christmas season was laid.

To deliver this revelation that “Knowledge Is Biblical. Education is Not” (Me) during this Season of Christmas leads me to a greater appreciation for the works of some of Black Nation’s greatest thinkers; whose Greatness is typified in their adeptness of the written knowledge that they have left as inheritance, no —GIFT to intergenerational and interplanetary… Life.  We are experiencing a generation of persons who think that their ideas are their own, without the benefit of community, nor race, nor nation.  No reason we began life in America with laws making it illegal for us to learn to read… Reading IS in truth… Fundamental.  There is no emancipation without TRUTH… just ask the slaves in Texas.

In 1924 W. E. B. Du Bois wrote “THE GIFT of BLACK FOLK, The Negroes in the Making of America”.  His Chapter Six is entitled: “The Freedom of Womanhood.  How the black woman from her low estate not only united two great human races but helped lift herself and all women to economic independence and self-expression.”

He thus writes: “In the United States in 1920 there were 5,253,695 women of Negro descent;… As a mass these women have but the beginnings of education,—twelve percent of those from sixteen to twenty years of age were unable to write, and twenty-eight percent of those twenty-one years of age and over. These women are passing through, not only a moral, but an economic revolution. Their grandmothers married at twelve and fifteen, but in 1910 twenty-seven percent of these women who had passed fifteen were still single.”

 “Yet these black women toil and toil hard. There were in 1910 two and a half million Negro homes in the United States. Out of these homes walked daily to work two million women and girls over ten years of age,—one half of the colored female population as against a fifth in the case of white women. These, then, are a group of workers, fighting for their daily bread like men; independent and approaching economic freedom! They furnished a million farm laborers, 80,000 farmers, 22,000 teachers, 600,000 servants and washerwomen, and 50,000 in trades and merchandising.  In 1920, 38.9% of colored women were at work as contrasted with 17.2% of native white women.  Of the colored women 39% were farming and 50% in service.”

 “The family group… ideal of the culture into which these folk have been born, is not based on the idea of an economically independent working mother.”  “Thus the Negro woman more than the women of any other group in America is the protagonist in the fight for an economically independent womanhood in modern countries.  Her fight has not been willing or for the most part conscious but it has, nevertheless, been curiously effective in its influence on the working world.”

It is also in this Chapter that Du Bois memorializes a slave woman who comes across history as a “Sojourner (just passing through filled with) Truth”:  “I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me —and ain’t I a woman? …I have borne thirteen chilern and seen ’em mos’ all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard —and ain’t I a woman?  …If de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down, all ’lone, dese togedder” (and she glanced her eye over us,) “ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.”  Gifted here from the ‘Wise Man Du Bois’ without paraphrase, nor translation… only as he has given his knowledge to us in this season of… Christmas.

The Gift of Christmas goes far beyond the exchange of physical gifts.  This Christmas let this be, a new Knowledge, in understanding the rich history of ‘The Gift of Black Folk’ to this Nation.  Particularly the Gift of Black Women to a Nation that has since it’s beginnings of making her ‘property’ —has witnessed Her, against every odd… Rise… to be a Gift to the world.

by email: myfathersmansion@mail.com

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