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

“They said they didn’t want to use a pregnant teenager because it would be controversial and the people would talk about the pregnancy more than the boycott,” Colvin says.

https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-43171799

Was Rosa Parks the only woman to refuse to give up her seat on a segregated bus? Below are a few of the women left out of the history books. 


Irene Morgan – We have all heard of Rosa Parks, but there were at least three women who refused to give up their seats on the bus in the Jim Crow south throughout history. Eleven years before Parks, Irene Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, a black woman, was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate bus according to a state law on segregation. The Irene Morgan Decision inspired the men and women of CORE to create a nationwide protest movement called “The Journey of Reconciliation” when groups of civil rights activists rode buses and trains across states in the South in 1947, a precursor to The Freedom Rides of 1961.

The Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia, handed down a landmark decision on June 3, 1946, when they agreed that segregation violated the Constitution’s protection of interstate commerce. Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth catalyzed further court rulings and the Civil Rights movement. Eight years later, the Supreme Court decided in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation violated Equal Rights Protection.

Irene Morgan died on August 10, 2007.

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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 15 years old but she was poor. She didn’t have the NAACP or the connections Parks had. As a result, little is know of her. 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 to the movement. They thought Colvin’s condition would make blacks look bad. 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 concerning bus desegregation, even though she was there before Parks.

“Whenever people ask me: ‘Why didn’t you get up when the bus driver asked you?’ I say it felt as though Harriet Tubman’s hands were pushing me down on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth’s hands were pushing me down on the other shoulder. I felt inspired by these women because my teacher taught us about them in so much detail,” she says.

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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. Browder was born on January 29, 1919. She joined the NAACP, SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), the Women’s Political Council (WPC), and the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). Aurelia could join all the organizations she wanted but with six children and no husband, her refusal to give up her seat on a bus did not stick, even though she was before Parks.

Mary Louise Smith – Mary was born in 1937, in Montgomery, Alabama. She attended and graduated from St. Jude Educational Institute. On October 21, 1955, at the age of 18, Mary was returning home on the Montgomery city bus. At a stop after Mary had boarded and seated, a white passenger boarded. There was no place for the white passenger to sit and Mary was ordered to give up her seat. She refused. Mary was arrested and charged with failure to obey segregation orders and given a nine dollar fine, which her father paid.

Irene, Claudette, Aurelia, and Mary Louise was followed by Susie McDonald, and Jeanetta Reese, all had been arrested and charged with violating various policies regarding segregated seating on city buses.


Discover more Black History Fun Facts and Lost to History Facts HERE.

#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!