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Faith of A Mustard Seed

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

I penned my second Poem? for Mother’s Day last year and soon realized that it is so far beyond the ‘Celebration Spirit’ of the solitary appointed day given to “Honor Our Mother”. So I am putting it here and now to indicate the need for the continuing Dialogue that must be ongoing concerning ‘Mama being African Born in America’. I call it:

“Mama’s Day 365”.
Mama’s love is Undeniable.
Even when she does not know how to show you; the Silence of this truth is deafening.
Mama’s love is Unfathomable.
Reaching back into the umbilical connection to your big mama, and bigger, and grander, and greater mamas… never to be ignorant of nor unconscious of your ‘Ancestral… Mama’s love.’
Mama’s love is Unshakable.
Even when she suffers in the night from the pain and systemic abuse of her daily life encounters; holding fast to her God-fearing nature and striving to keep you safe.
Mamas love is Unbreakable.
Not a day passes in her separation from you by circumstances of her life nor death, does she not hold you deep in YOUR space in her heart.
Mama’s love is Undying.
Abiding. Perpetual. Immortal. Eternal… in the heavens.
2023 to Honor my Mama.

I am struck by hearing Dr. Claude Anderson voice a mistake of the Civil Rights Movement. While the 1963 March on Washington sought ‘equality’, he reminds us that there was, not then, nor now any equality to have for a people who were and are so systemically far… behind. He propagates that the move from Segregation must be a very deliberate help for ‘Post Slavery Syndrome’!

A ‘Duke University Libraries Exhibits’ titles a piece as “The Working Mom. Mothering While Enslaved”. Here is noted that Abolitionists saw the disparity between the numbers of slave women’s children being so greatly higher than the European women; as demonstration that slave Mama conditions were too poor to sustain human life. There is also the thought that women worked the fields alongside men in addition to their mothering duties with… the expectation to produce more slaves for the labor force of the plantation.

“I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?” (Sojourner Truth)

I continue to raise the ‘Church’s Losses’… ‘FIVE GENERATIONS’: Older Adults. Middle Aged Adults. Young Adults. Youth. And Children. Most specifically as this being the very Center of the one and only place where black Nation has capacity to approach and meet the Intergenerational Family Life needs —spiritually, mentally and physically. It is ‘business as usual’ in the Black American Church whose Male dominance hold sway over a ‘Family Concern’ that is only for their own family. This contradiction in the lives of all these Black Mamas whose faith built the Black Church but remain in —Silence.

To hear it said so often that ‘mothering comes without a manual’; is not void of the physical, emotional and psychological violence of slavery, —relentless and horrific in it’s ‘birthmark’… scarring the heart of every African born in America no matter how ‘integrated’ our lives have become. Hidden, deeply buried in the Souls of Black Folk for that encounter that causes it to… release! What was that? Where did it come from? As a mother protecting her children from becoming —Stolen Property!

In 1839 a member of the ‘Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society’ wrote using the Title:

“The Slave Mother”
See you that poor victim at his feet,
Writhing in agony under the keen lash plied at his command.
Her stifled groans bespeak the anguish of a breaking heart.
That victim is a Slave —a Mother —Wife…
Not one ray of light breaks in to cheer the sadness of her soul.
Strange pangs do rend her Mother-Heart.
And that keen lash is plied to still
the throes and struggles of her dying Hope.

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