Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A World Without Zora and Malcolm
Yesterday three giants shared a birthday. Lorraine Hansberry, Malcolm X and my mother! What if they had never been born? Imagine the impact of that and how the dynamics of their existence hadn't taken shape. We are familiar with Hansberry's work from A Raisin in the Sun but what of another woman who was ahead of her time?
"I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it.... No, I do not weep at the world--I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife."
“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me.”
She understood what imperialism was. She knew the value of us freeing our minds. She celebrated being a woman at a time that wasn't even considered. She challenged the so-called Black elites of her day. She found a way to earn a living as a full-time writer at a time when African-American women were usually employed as maids and washerwomen. She wasn't appreciated or celebrated until another woman (Alice Walker) forced society to giver Hurston her due.