I Was Not There

I do not entirely agree

with the actions of my ancestors

cannot say with a straight face that I would have stood there

In the crossfire of oppression, falling

while being bit by dogs

smiling

while being spit on

not with a straight face will I say

that I would have been there

to ask my oppressors their permission

to walk down the street

but I was not there

and me not being there leads me to do nothing

but honor their legacy in humility

I do not know the taste of their humiliation

as closely as they experienced it

my young palate is a prejudiced mixture

of what I’ve seen in footage and read in books

I did not feel the lash

or salt in-between their wounds

know nothing of the seasoning

of stripped identity

of throats closing in on tongues

I know only of gentle waters

the kind that bathes, and cooks and quenches the thirst

I know nothing of the kind that pierces

the skin on contact

I do not know because I was not there

but I can write

like Baldwin did

as a witness

I can write the stories

and un-fairy tale the tragedy

of being colored

to make alive again

a history left virtually unknown

because I was not there

not when Moses died or Malcolm slain

but I can write

articulating the suffering

of the now silent

 

Copyright©2017 by Yecheilyah Ysrayl. All rights reserved.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including her soon-to-be released short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

Unfamiliar Faces – Lost to History: Before Parks

Last year, I started a series I didn’t get to finish. Unfamiliar Faces: Lost to History was something I thought of doing because I realized how much black history is repetition and how much is rarely mentioned. CLICK HERE to view the first post.

I said I wanted to post every Thursday on this topic. Somehow I got side tracked. But I’m back on it.

Every year in February we are certain to hear one name: Rosa Parks. But, was she the first? Below are women who were lost to history, though they were before Parks:

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Claudette Colvin

Born on September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger months before Rosa Parks on March 2, 1955. Colvin was only 15years old but she was poor. She didnt have the NAACP or the connections Parks had. As a result, little is know of her. In fact, the NAACP considered using Claudette but they said she was too young. They also looked away because she was pregnant and they did not want to represent a young, unwed mother and bring about negative attention. In short, they looked down on Colvin. Still, Colvin went on to serve as a plaintiff in the landmark legal case Browder v. Gayle, which helped end the practice of segregation on Montgomery public buses. Today, Claudette Colvin is still not a name you hear very often in relation to bus desegregation, even though she was there before Parks.

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Aurelia Browder

After Colvin Aurelia Browder followed suit and was arrested on April 19, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat. Born on January 29, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama, we can rest assured Aurelia knew well the likes ofJim Crow. We can imagine this is why she joined the NAACP, SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), the Women’s Political Council (WPC), and the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). However, Aurelia could join all the organizations she wanted but with six children and no husband her refusal to give up her seat did not stick, even though she was before Parks.

Aurelia was followed by Mary Louise Smith, Susie McDonald, and Jeanatta Reese, all who were arrested for refusing to give their seats up on a bus in 1955.

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Irene Morgan

I mentioned her in my first post but I’m doing it again for emphasis since she came eleven years before the women above. Many are just now starting to hear more and more about Morgan. Eleven years before both Parks and Colvin was Irene Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, another black woman arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate. The Irene Morgan Decision inspired the men and women of CORE to create a nationwide protest movement called The Journey of Reconciliation which later inspired The Freedom Rides.

#Book #Review for Stella Book #2: Beyond The Colored Line by Christa Wojciechowski

Title: Stella Book #2: Beyond The Colored Line
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Published: July 27, 2015
Released: August 24, 2015
ASIN: B013PQCKK8
Pages: 64
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Black Literature, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Short Story

Nothing is Simply Black or White

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line is a fascinating walk through the ages–from slavery, to segregation, to the black power movement, to modern times.

Through the eyes of one mixed race woman, the author touches on major events in African American history, allowing the reader to experience them in real time.

The story deepens when Stella decides to live as a white woman and raise her children as whites. As her family grows and develops within a changing society, Stella and her children reveal complex perspectives and attitudes that make it clear that it doesn’t matter who your ancestors were. Nothing is just simply black or white.

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They are coming in slowly but they are coming! Special thanks go out to Christa for this review; it makes my second five stars! OK so its only two reviews BUT both are five stars, I’ll take it! Every small victory is worth appreciating. In case you’re wondering why these reviews are so short, it’s really a short read, a novella if you will. If you would like to receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review please email me. It really will not take up too much of your time. In any event, I appreciate both the positive AND constructive criticism I am getting on the back end. It lets me know the reviews are real deal  and is EXTREMELY helpful in the polishing off of Book #3, whose release date and book cover I will be announcing soon. The Stella Trilogy is almost complete!