“Duty pours a glass of milk, but love stirs in a little chocolate syrup.” One of LHP’s employees sent this poem to me from her desk top planner and it inspired me to write a message honoring Black History Month, as it is recognized and celebrated in February. During this month, many programs, events, and TV shows remind us about the history and plight of a people who were enslaved and taken from their native land of Africa to “work the fields” in America.
One of my favorite poets was Maya Angelou. She was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. One of her most valued poem speaks to us about a Phenomenal Woman. “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size, but when I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies. I say, it’s in the reach of my arms, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips…I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”
As an African American, she also wrote poems about the plight of her ancestors and blacks in America. In particular, Still I Rise was one of her most famous poems. It is a poem that speaks to both her own personal resilience as well as her ancestors, that rose above slavery. In this poem, she writes,
“You may write me down in history, with your bitter, twisted lies, you may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells, pumping in my living room, just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still I’ll rise.”
While African Americans are no strangers to adversity, we did survive the harshness of slavery dating back to 1619; let’s also recognize our achievements that eventually led to the first President of the United States, whose father was of African origin, being elected.
Together, let’s celebrate the heritage of African Americans throughout the month.
Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!
By Chaplain Ghosten