I listened to President Obama's recent State of the Union Address. Among many other concerns, he spoke to the now much repeated 77-cent gap between male and female wages. As an African-American female, I reflected on this "now" issue in light of history.
Economic disparities are nothing new in this world nor this country; neither is racial or gender disparity. I applaud Mr. Obama for calling this particular issue out.
For the sake of perspective and perhaps even for the sake of inspiration, I want to share a speech made by that noble, wise "Black Queen," Miss Sojourner Truth. She gave these remarks at a gathering of "feminists" in 1851 in Akron, Ohio. This was before the Civil War. The platform was to gain the vote for women in a world where only white men were considered worthy of voting.
I am today awed by Miss Truth's expression of truth and wonder, "How far removed are we really from our past?" Her words are now in the public domain for any – and – all to read and pass around.
Here is that brief, yet powerful speech:
"Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? 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?
"Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? (member of audience whispers, 'intellect'). That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
"Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say."
Today, there is a lot out of kilter! "If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?" The beat goes on.
What tiny little thing can each of us do or say to and for one another that eases the burden and strengthens the soul when so much around us continues to be out of kilter? There are also many good things going right. And there is always an opportunity to tell the Truth and support and uplift those who do so. Just sayin'...
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)