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In turning in the widening gyre seeing in me muse and tell me tell me the story they said things like don’t put too much salt on the solid you’re will the lettuce you’ve got that a blind stitch I see it.
I went upstairs and I began writing what would become the housekeeping poems. The first was a poem composed of the lists I had copied from that yard cookbook cups that’ll pop kettle grader and appeal or casserole calendar coral waffle iron small final the names of our instruments need ports to whip and stir score Julianne whistle tastes good scallop drying glass a candy garnish the names of our movements dash of salt twist of lemon bit of Bailey’s pinch of thyme sprinkle with bread crumbs deep fried dice net rise .
I thought of Langston and how he’d wanted to eat at the big table in the dining room. I was just as happy staying in the kitchen . Among the women who had first taught me service to an art strong , resourceful big hearted women who kept the world’s running smoothly for the rest of us .
They were the America I wanted to belong to. There’s the voices . I wanted to write down .
I went back to my tower room and ignoring the figures on the freeze I sat at my desk and some in my muses.
Sony’s layer red Julia Alvarez’s essays speak speak I’m all week potentially Alvarez found her voice by listening to her past some of the most formative American voices are those who have been overlooked by history. These include the voices of many African American women their work has been recovered in an anthology edited by historian Henry Louis Gates and Hollis Robbins the portable 19th century African American women writers Gates joined us for a live short evening to present readings from the book here he is speaking from the stage at Symphony Space .
The remarkable thing about this evening is that these words have never been spoken aloud before. So we’re making history .
Our anthology was designed to highlight the dynamism of these artists’ lives in their thinking their social and political acuity their stomachs sense of community , their budding but potent feminism you’ll hear comments strength wit , intelligence style and a determination to move ahead in spite of discrimination and racism in all its forms.
That was scholar Henry Louis Gates , speaking from the stage at Symphony Space the women Gates celebrates in the anthology spoke in public and private in prose and in verse. Here are 3 examples Catherine Davis Chapman Tillman was a prolific writer publishing poems short fiction and journalism into the 1920s her poem singled out important historical figures who represented black progress like Ida B Wells , one of the founders of the NAACP Crystal Dickinson performs lines to either be well .
Thank God there are hearts in England that feel for the Negroes distress and gladly give up their substance to seek his wrongs a redress speed on the day when the Lynch’s no more shall exist in our land. When even the poorest Negro protected by Justice shall stand when no more the cries of terror shell break on the midnight air while poor and defenseless Negroes surrender their lives in despair . When the spirit of our inspired Lincoln window fill ups and some brave Kindle a spirit of justice and our race from oppression save when Boyle hearts of the Southland with those of the north tried and true shall give to the struggling Negro that which is by nature his due .
And the cloud that threatens our land Shell pale beneath the Liberty Sun and in a prosperous future be atoned the wrongs to us down goal now brave woman lead spread our wrongs from shore to shore until with his rights is the Negro and lynching are heard of no more and centuries hence the children sprung up from the hermetic race on history’s unwritten pages by daring deeds shall trace and the Afro-American mother who of Negro History tales shall speak and.
Words of grateful praise to the novel Ida B Wells.
Crystal Dickinson red lines to Ida B Wells by Catherine Davis Chapman Tillman next we hear from one of the most famous figures in African American history Sojourner Truth , she was a former slave who became a leader in the abolitionist movement and her many speeches were reported by the newspapers of the day can a shawl reads an excerpt from a speech delivered to the women’s rights convention.
May I say a few words.
I want to say a few words about this matter I a woman’s rights I have as much muscle as any man and can do as much work as any man. I have so loud and reaped and and chopped and mold and can any man do more than that I haven’t heard much about the sex is being equal . I can carry as much as any man and can eat as much too if I can get it . I am as strong as any man . There is now .
As for intellect. All I can say is , if a woman have a pint and a man of court why can’t she have her little punk full you need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much . Well , we can take more than our panel hold the poor man seemed to be all in confusion and don’t know what to do . Why are children if you have woman’s rights , give it to her and you will feel better . You will have your own rights . And they won’t be so much trouble .
I can’t read , but I can hear , I have heard the Bible and I have learned that caused men to say.
Where every woman upset the world do give her a chance to set it right side up again.
Can ease a shawl performed an excerpt of a speech delivered to the women’s rights convention in Akron , Ohio by Sojourner Truth I’m Mike Pence only finally a bold. The poem by Mary E Ashley in Ask America we imagine looking back on her ancestors from a position of triumph she shares the news of black female empowerment . After centuries of oppression here is Marica .
After America hang up the heart I hear them say nor sing again and Afrique lay the time has passed we would forget and sadly now do we regret. There still remains a single trace of that .