this day in black history . . .

the stamp of truth

On this day, February 4, 1986, the official stamp featuring Sojourner Truth was issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

Born into slavery as "Isabella Baumfree" (later changing her name to Sojourner Truth) she is known as one of the most powerful advocates for human rights in the 19th century. After her master refused to honor his promise to free her or adhere to the New York Anti-Slavery Law of 1827, she "walked away by daylight" to freedom. And she never looked back.

An abolitionist and women's rights activist, she is best known for her speech on racial inqualities, "Ain't I a Woman?" which she delivered to the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in 1851. Although she has done so much more.

She has an amazing legacy that we should all learn. You can start at The Sojourner Truth Project.

#Badass files

seeking a conversation on race

The 2018 mid-term elections were historic in that it was the first time in history that such a diverse group (of women) were elected across the nation. It is, in fact, the first time in history that a branch of our government has truly been reflective of the people they serve. But, progress always comes with another side. Like the unpleasant taste you get from bitter coffee or penicillin that has been on your tongue longer than a second.Trust me, it's nasty!

One of the "highlights" of this election was the formation of what we refer to as "The Squad." A group of four unapoligetic, strong, #BaddAss women of color that are not afraid of a damn thing. We love to see that. Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, you have to admire these women for the consistent perserverence, especially when they have become the target of so much disinformation and smear campaigns. My mom always told me, you know when you are doing something right because everyone is going to try to take you down for it.

We have seen the far-right (and even some 'liberal" circles) go after these women for, well, just being who they are. We have also seen the current occupant of the White House target them, and many other people of color, for being . . . well, people of color. I mean, if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, chile trust me, it ain't a pork sandwich. Just saying.

While the blatant racism and sexism that comes through in the tweets and on Fox news is new, the actual act of dissing Black women is not. We just speak the quiet parts out loud these days.

While this story is not a story that took place "On This Day" in Black History, it is one that should be talked about. This is another example of how Black women show up, do the work, and, at the first sign of controversy, we are left standing alone. I am talking about the almost leader of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice that never was. Why? Because a bunch of fragile old white dudes that wanted to hold on to power, and ensure that our government would not hold them accountable, made sure that it didn't happen.

I am talking about Lani Guinier, a native New Yorker, was born on April 19, 1950. Her mother was a public school teacher and her father was a lawyer, union organizer, and real estate agent. In the late 60's, while attending Harvard University, she was one of a handful of students that petitioned the university for the establishment of an African American studies program, which was later headed by her father. She is the first Black woman to have been appointed a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School.

By 1993 Guinier, a Yale Law School graduate, had crafted an impressive career as an NAACP attorney who specialized in voting rights cases, member of the law faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, and special assistant in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department in the Carter Administration. In 1993, newly elected President Bill Clinton nominated her to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department in his administration.

Her nomination, however, touched off a firestorm of protest by opponents when conservative journalists, and Republican Senators (are we surprised?) mounted a ferocious campaign to quash her nomination. They dubbed her “the quota queen” for her work to support voting districts that had black majorities. What was really interesting to me about this story was that Carol Moseley-Braun, the only Black person in the Senate at the time, was one of the ones to encourage President Clinton to withdraw her nomination.

So, he did what we expect white folks to do when they have to show up for Black folk, especially Black women, he withdrew her nomination. Yes, the very same man who dubbed the Black men as "Super-Predators." During the "low-tech lynching" she was getting, not only did he thwart her nomination but he also refused to give her any opportunity to speak in her own defense. This was considered to be a major setback for the Civil Rights Movement in America.

So, on June 4, 1993, Guinier clapped back with this response at a press conference. She went on to secure her tenure at Harvard, guest lecture at prestigious univerfsities across the nation and write a bunch of books. So, she did what all #BadAss Black women do when faced with adversity, she thrived.