THE BEAUTY AND GLORY OF WOMANHOOD

A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE VA ON THE BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION DAY, FEB 22, 2012.
VENUE: VA AUDITORIUM, CANANDAIGUA, NY.
TITLE: THE BEAUTY AND GLORY OF WOMANHOOD VIS-À-VIS THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE MARKING THE BLACK HISTORY MONTH OF 2012.
SPEAKER:  FR. CHRISTOPHER O. EZEH, B.Phil., M.Div., M.S.
Website: www.fatherchristos.com

INTRODUCTION:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Blessed Memory, noted in his “l Have a Dream” speech, quote :  “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:  ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.  I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Our black history month of 2012 is focused on black women and their achievements in the American history and culture. Slavery lasted from 1619 to 1865 in the American history. Black women were completely crushed and devastated by the impact of slavery not only on themselves but also on their children, the fruits of their wombs who were torn out of their hands and resold to other slave masters while they stood and watched their slave masters. Their families were torn apart. Paternal-maternal, sibling-relative ties were completely broken and devastated. To see their children rise today and ascend the thrones of various recognitions by their achievements in different fields is worthy of admiration and worthy of God’s glorification.

To discuss the achievements of black women we would first examine the beauty and glory of womanhood in general upon which is anchored the possibility of all achievements made by black women in different fields of life in spite of the history and culture that stood against them.

THE BEAUTY AND GLORY OF WOMANHOOD:
 It is said, “Educate a child and you will have educated the future; educate a woman and you will have educated a nation;” “Behind the success of every man is a woman;”  “What a man can do a woman can do and even better.”

What is so special about a woman and about women?  Women are the crown of God’s creation.  Or permit me to say the latest model of God’s creative ingenuity, hence, the last to be created or if you like to be invented by God, using scientific terms. Following the biblical narrative, a woman is the last creature to be brought into the universe to join the human race.

ORDER OF SCIENTIFIC INVENTION/GOD’S CREATIVE ORDER IN THE UNIVERSE:
When inventors invent new products, such as new cars, new radios, new computers, new cameras, new TVs, new airplanes, etc., their latest models are always better than the older models.  They are better because they have more accessories, features, etc. and so are more adaptable, efficient and convenient to use.

Drawing analogy from this truth, what do you think that happened after God had created the whole universe in five days and on the sixth day announced:  “Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth…”(Gen 1:26)  Thus, between man and the rest of creatures that were created before him, man was the latest model of God’s creation and therefore was gifted with more feature and accessories such as intelligence, reasoning and free will in addition to all that he possesses in common with other animals and creatures.

But it was not long before God noted a weakness in man and concluded that man cannot make it alone.  He will be a misery to himself if he is left all alone on earth.  Therefore, God said:  “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen 2:16)

When God resolved to create a woman, do you think he meant to create someone inferior to the person he previously created or someone on the same level and who would be operating in the same capacity as the one previously created? If it were to be so, then, there would have been no need bringing such a one to join the human race since she would be operating in the same capacity and weakness as man and would make no difference in the things that man cannot do. No, when God intended to bring in a woman he was determined to bring in someone who would be able to do what man does and at the same time possess the qualities to perform and accomplish the things that man cannot do left alone. Hence, women are the crown of God’s creation, the latest model of God’s inventions (using scientific term). God took his time because that would be His best blue print, the last exhibition of his magnificence, love, mystery, power, wisdom, and governance over creation.  God made sure that what was lacking in man was fitted into this creature.

To make sure that there was no distraction whatsoever in the making of a woman, speaking anthropomorphically, God struck man into a deep sleep.  The Biblical testimony has this to say, quote:  “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh, and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Gen 2:21-22).

WRONGFUL INTERPRETATION OF THE RIB:
Some have wrongly interpreted this to be the reason why women are held to be weak compared to men because God used only one rib to make a woman.  That is a wrong interpretation and description of women.  Women are neither weak nor are they weaker than men.  A helper usually possesses the required features and qualities more than the one being helped, so that he/she can be of help to the recipient. The teacher helps the students and not vise versa.

God who fashioned man did not borrow ribs from anywhere to fashion him.  Likewise, He did not need to borrow ribs from man to make a woman; after all, physiologically speaking, a woman does not  possess just one rib. I do not intend to interpret the Bible here or do the work of exegetes, but I would say that taking a rib from the man according to the biblical story is a symbolic representation of the fact that a portion of what belongs to man is taken from his being and added to all the features and qualities that God had decided to bestow upon a woman so that she would be able to render a fitting help to man and thereby fulfill her vocation on earth which is to make up what is lacking in man. In fashioning a woman, therefore, God included in her being what man already possesses and what man does not possess in his being.  This is what constituted a woman a real helper to man and not vice versa.  It is, therefore, not surprising why women exhibit higher natural virtues and sublime human qualities more than men.

Comparing men and women, the following are the findings:

1.  Generally: women are more self-controlled than men.  It’s men who chase women and not vise versa except in the aberrations of woman dignity found in a few which is an exception rather than the rule.

2.  When men unite, women can disunite them and pull them apart.  But, when women unite, men cannot pull them apart.  And women never relent until their aim is achieved.

3.  A woman can adapt to all cultures, all peoples and all places more than a man.  She can marry to any culture and fit in.

4.  Unlike a man, a woman’s patience is elastic and can be stretched to any point without breaking. With two or three attempts met with resistance, a man easily gives up.

5. Women can endure and survive hardships and difficult situations of any degree even in silence more than men can endure.  Men easily give up and at worst commit suicide to end the hassle.

6.  Women possess more love than men do.  Hence, God having entrusted them with the duty of bearing children, has gifted them with much love so that they would have enough to share with their children and husband and others. As much as their love can stretch, their womb can as well stretch to hold as many as 8 babies at a time during gestation.

7.  Unlike men women can combine several burdens and bear them all alone at the same time without complaining.  For example, a woman can carry pregnancy, go to work, take care of the home chores, prepare meals for the household and at the same time absorb the physical or psychological abuse, insults, oppression, and brutality of the man who lives with her.  It could be her husband or anybody.

8.  Unlike men, women can endure oppression and suppression in silence for a long period of time without complaining.

9.  The virtue of selflessness is more naturally exhibited in women than in men. For example, a woman gives up her father’s name to answer her husband’s family’s name. The children of her womb answer her husband’s family’s name and never her’s. The mother feeds the children first and if what is left may not be enough for the husband and herself, she lets the husband have it and waits for the next meal. Such is the heart of the mother.

10.  In a household, everyone feeds on the mother’s kindness, sweetness, readiness and willingness to provide.  When children get hungry, get thirsty, feel cold or get sick, they first run to the mother.  If children mistakenly run to the dad for any of the above mentioned needs, he quickly yells for the mother and turns the children over to the mother.  He only improvises when the mother is physically absent or sick or preoccupied with something of great necessity. Nevertheless, we may find men once in a while who excel in these virtues as discussed above but it is not always the case. And, when such virtues are exhibited in a man it becomes an exception rather than the rule.

11.  When a woman’s belly bulges out, it is called pregnancy, and the world is in great expectations; a new baby is forth coming into the world; the baby could be a queen, a king, a pope, even God etc. A virgin, in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary, once conceived and bore Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Is. 7:14; Lk. 1:26-27, 31-32). Such is the dignity and beauty of womanhood. In this one incident God demonstrated that the nature of womanhood is capable of infinite possibilities, namely that a woman can live with a man without sexual relations with him; that a woman can conceive a child without any sexual relations with a man.

12.  But when a man’s belly bulges out, we can expect either of these three things inside his tummy, food, drinks, fats or sickness.

13.  The presence of a woman dispels fear. For example, when you find yourself walking in a lonely place and all of a sudden you negotiate a bending and see a group of men, two or three  coming toward you on the same path, you might easily be overcome by fear not knowing who they are and what they might do to you. But as soon as you get closer and find out that a woman is with them, your fear is quickly dispelled. The presence of a woman in their midst indicates that the group might not be harmful, because a woman by nature is harmless and her presence evokes peace and security. This does not mean that we do not find armed robbers once in a while among women. But it is an exceptional aberration of their nature rather than the rule.

14.  Single parenting is mostly done by women whereby a woman raises the entire family including children, parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters all by herself.  Putting our pluses and minuses together, it does seem that women can inhabit this world all alone and manage its affairs without men. 

 15. Women indeed are the crown of God’s creation, the most sophisticated, delicate, adorable and fruitful of all God’s creation.  They appear weak but full of energy and power.   They got the milk, the honey, the beauty and love.  All flock to them for life, for enjoyment, for company, for service, etc. With their natural charm they intoxicate men with their love who then chase after them.  To say but the least, the woman’s nature is designed to fit into all things and to be all things to all men. They are harvested as one harvests a crop. Their beauty, love, knowledge, manpower, work etc., are harvested 24 hours in different shapes and forms every blessed day. The entire human race feed on their blood and milk. Hence, they generate men and women to populate the universe. Great, small, rich and poor, all proceed from the wombs of women.

One elderly priest once advised me:  “Handle women with soft gloves.  They got honey but they got thorns too. I agree with him because in every rose there is a thorn, but the presence of thorn is to protect the rose so that people don’t pluck it anyhow. But I still doubt if all women have thorns because I have not been able to find any thorns in my mother.

God is love and only women are very close to God in love and in giving their lives as ransom for their children.  This is typical of mothers. A woman can easily give up her life for the child in her womb.  Some have chosen to die in order to save the babies in their wombs. Only God has given His life as ransom for all as demonstrated in Jesus, the Son of God who came and died for us that we might have life and have it in abundance (Jn.10:10).

JESUS AND WOMEN:
Jesus worked well with women during His earthly life.  A good number of women were found among Jesus’ followers. Women assisted him and attended to his needs during his earthly ministry. Among all his executioners, none was a woman.  Women, instead, assisted Him during His passion.  For example, Pilate’s wife pleaded with Pilate not to take a rash decision against Jesus.  A group of women broke out in tears and expressed compassion for Jesus when he was on His way to Calvary loaded with his cross.  A woman named Veronica offered her veil to Jesus to wipe off the blood and sweat that covered His face and vision notwithstanding the objection of the brutal soldiers.  Jesus’ mother met Him, consoled and comforted Him and accompanied Him on His way to Calvary. The only man, by name, Simeon, who assisted Jesus to carry his cross was forced to do it. A woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first person Jesus showed Himself after His resurrection with the instruction that she should go and inform the rest of His disciples that He had risen.

MAN’S AGGRESSIVE NATURE:
The beauty and glory of women and their apparent potentialities did not win them the admiration of men but envy; not the support of men but their jealousy, tyranny, oppression and suppression.

Hence men, being aggressively oriented by nature and perceiving the nobility, excellence and sublime qualities in women, see them as rivals and consequently vowed to subject them to servitude and misery.  Hence, in different cultures, men have surrounded women with all kinds of rules, regulations and taboos in order to keep them under control—a daily toil for men which has yielded them nothing but frustration because you cannot put a wedge against a moving river.  If you do, it fills up, spills over and continues its journey.
There is something about women’s movement which is a kind of force, the mystery of which men have been unable to unravel. Hence, all that men have done in the course of history to restrict women were only a chase after the wind.

I once asked a man how his wife was doing.  He responded, “I guess she is doing OK.”  I retorted:  “what do you mean by ‘guess’?”  He replied:  “Father let me tell you.  I have been with this woman for thirty years, but the more I live with her, the less I understand her”.  I said to him, you are right.  You have got God’s real gift.  The giver is a mystery—the gift is a mystery.
Not understanding the mystery in this human creature which God has of late brought into the human race, men of all cultures in their struggle to be masters and rulers of the universe have surrounded women with all kinds of rules, regulations and taboos in order to keep them in subjugation.  Leaving out the rest of world cultures let us focus only on the American history and culture and explore some of the cruelties and oppressive servitude women have been subjected to.

Leadership in the Family Setting:
The nuclear family is described as a mini community.  What happens in the larger society of mankind is first hatched and bred in the family.  It is the individual families that supply the village, the state and the entire nation of mankind with citizens both good and bad.  What constitutes the family is not the furniture, bed and other household items.  It is the individual persons bound by the maternal-paternal, sibling-relative ties that make up the family.

The American culture and society assigned the homes to women as their “rightful” place where they stay with and take care of the children and the house.  The man’s rightful place is at the workplace where he earns the family’s daily bread.

The exulted leadership qualities and skills of women shine out gloriously in their accomplishments in the leadership role they play over their children in the families as they grow from infancy to childhood and from adolescence to adulthood.

In her administrative role in the family the woman serves the children in different capacities, though informally, as she deals with the issues and scruples of the children.  For example, she serves as a lawyer and a judge to settle misunderstandings and quarrels among the children; she serves as a doctor and a nurse to sooth their illnesses before they get offhand; she serves as a teacher when she teaches them the norms of society and culture, the dos and the don’ts; she serves as a counselor when she advises and motivates them towards the right direction in their lives; she serves as a theologian when she teaches the children about God and their religious creed; she serves as the bursar when she dispenses money to them for use depending on their individual needs; she serves as a cook when she prepares them food for bodily nourishment; she serves as the government when she penalizes the children for repeated misbehaviors; she serves as a liaison between the husband and the children, the family and the outside world. It is the mother who teaches the child who the father is.

In the daily execution of her administrative role in the family, the woman strives to connect and communicate with the children and the husband, connects the children with one another and with their father, renders account of her expenditures and the family’s situation to the husband; and above all—communicates and connects with the outside world as she prepares the family to engage in social or religious events.   For example, ask the father the names of their children’s teachers at school.  He does not know—but the woman knows! Thus, God has fitted into the nature of womanhood to be all things to all men.

WOMEN’S MARGINALIZATION: 
The issue of women’s marginalization is as old as the emergence of womanhood in the society of mankind.  It is a long historical problem which is not just caused by one factor. Women’s marginalization has different dimensions of its exhibition in society.

Women’s marginalization in America could be traced along the history of women’s elementary-secondary education, women’s higher education, and collegiate coeducation, women’s right to vote, women’s salaries, job opportunities, et cetera.  It is very difficult to pinpoint the reason or rational basis for women’s marginalization because history has not been able to establish what a man does which a woman cannot do culturally, politically, socially, intellectually and otherwise. The only record of what women have not been able to do if any is what history has not given them the chance to do.

Culture has institutionalized women in their homes where they are meant to procreate, rear children and take care of the home.  Because of the low place which culture and society have accorded them, they are exposed to the whims and caprices of men, subjected to ridicules, underpayment, exploitation in different forms and shapes, and marginalization in economy, politics, education, et cetera.  Under economy they were underpaid; in politics they were once deprived of the right to vote and participate; in education they were once precluded from going to school.

MARGINALIZATION IN EDUCATION:
Ideas rule the world, hence, Francis Bacon, said that knowledge is power. You have got to know in order to act and you have got to have the right idea in order to be able to do the right thing and fight for the right course, even your rights. Hence, to keep women in perpetual ignorance in order to exploit them without their objection and resistance, men precluded women from formal education.

Let us take an x-ray of the past to see how women were marginalized in education.  Culture and society had confined women to their homes where they were expected to procreate, raise children and take care of the house.  Hence, by the 18th century, there was no formal education for women in the American history and culture, with the understanding that they didn’t need to go to school in order to learn how to make love and conceive, to give birth and take care of the house and children.

The first women’s movement for education in the early 18th century met with critics who complained that such behavior was destroying family life and undermining the social order.  By the mid eighteenth century, reformers and radicals like Mary Wollstonecraft, advanced reasons why women should be formally educated.  Some of these reasons included that “lack of education made women frivolous and socially irresponsible, unfit to be companions to their husbands, good mothers to their children and self-supporting in the absence of a male provider” (Cf. Goodchild and Wechsler, 1989, p. 473)

With this public understanding of the great importance of women’s education, the doors of primary schools were opened to girls officially for the first time between 1780 and 1830.
The growth of primary education in the North and West led districts that were desperate for teachers to hire women (who only attended elementary schools) at half the salary paid to male teachers. This situation raised the need for women’s secondary education so that they could qualify for teaching like the male teachers.  The proponents of this idea argued that women made better teachers because they could draw upon innate maternal instincts exercised at home in dealing with students at school. (Cf. Keber, quoted in Goodchild and Wechsler, 1998, p. 474)  This battle was eventually won and women were allowed secondary education.  Thus, for 50 years, from 1780-1830, women were allowed access to elementary and secondary education only.

By “1830s and 1840s, women’s desire to attend college inaugurated a century-long debate over female higher education.  Conservatives claimed that higher education would destroy women’s desire to remain within the home, while liberals asserted that colleges would produce better wives and mothers.” (Goodchild and Wechsler, 1998, p. 476)  Again the battle was won by women.

After allowing women access to higher education, another controversy broke out with regard to allowing collegiate coeducation for women as it was already allowed in the primary-secondary schools by the mid 19th century.  The key question here was:  should women study in the same classroom with men in colleges?  The reason for the controversy was “many feared that women educated with men would seek more than access to liberal culture and teacher training and want the privileges and duties of men.  Would not collegiate coeducation, by its very nature, move women outside the home, their proper sphere?” (Ibid, p. 475.).

The fear of society then was that if women were trained in the same classroom and in the same courses with men, women would inevitably begin to demand for the privileges and duties of men.  They guessed right.  But that is pure selfishness on the side of men to think so which has no rational basis whatsoever because it is an outrageous attempt to impeach the natural development of the human person.  Men and women have the same innate natural desire and potentiality to learn, grow and develop physically, culturally, psychologically, socially and intellectually.

As the controversy over women’s higher education was raging on, one professor of Harvard University, by name Dr. Edward Clark, came up with his own propaganda against women’s higher education and coeducation.  Hence, when the Congress passed the first Morill Act of 1862, providing for the establishment of state universities, and the founding of authentic women’s colleges in the 1860s and 1870s, Dr. Clark in his intellectual propaganda against women’s higher education, published his two popular books: one in 1873 and the other in 1874, titled “Sex in Education, or a Fair Chance for the Girls” and “Building a Brain”, respectively.  In these two books, Dr. Clark argued with illustrations that “too much study…drew blood away from the ovaries to the brain, particularly if the female student overtaxed herself during …menstruation.  College women thus endangered their health and perhaps rendered themselves incapable of bearing healthy children.” (Clark, quoted in Goodchild and Wechsler, 1998, p. 476).

This propaganda did lots of harm then to women’s higher education because many parents and their daughters were scared away from higher education because they would not stand the chances of endangering their health or their daughter’s health at pregnancy or the health of the would-be grandchildren.

Further research proved the above propaganda false and deceptive. You can deceive the people for some of the time, but you cannot deceive them all the time. Women finally won the victory and locked themselves onto the seat of knowledge with men. It was only after they had gained education that women were able to challenge successfully the status quo in economy, politics, socials and different fields of life, demanding for the right to vote, political offices, equal pay and opportunities in employment, participation in sports activities, with men, etc.

THE PLACE OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE:
The problems of black women in the American history and culture look similar but different with the problems of their white women counterpart.   Hence, all we have said so far applies to both black and white women. The only difference is that while the white women suffer only gender marginalization, black women face and suffer three barriers namely, gender, race and color marginalization.

Expressing the reality of this problem, W.E.B. Du Bois, an African-American sociologist, speaks about “the ‘two-ness’ that African-Americans feel, the sense of duality in being at the same time a part and apart from the American social order” (i.e. a feeling of belonging and a feeling of not belonging to the social order because of how they were treated).  Hence, Leslie, in the Journal of Women’s History, states that “in a white patriarchal society, both race and gender prevented empowerment of women of color, and created simultaneous layers of subjugation”(Alexander, 2004, vol. 16, no. 4, p.52).

Slavery has left a heavy adverse impact on the sexual life of black women affecting their families which has traced its way to the contemporary time. For example some wonder and ask why do we find among African Americans majority of those men and women who live together procreating children outside marriage even in their teens unlike what obtains among their white counterparts in the white families? While we condemn and frown at such deviation from acceptable social order little do we know that during the time of slavery, the slave owners used their women and men slaves to breed more slaves as chickens are bred in the poultry for commercial purposes. The more slaves a slave owner had the more slaves he could sell for financial proceeds. The more farm fields a slave owner had the more slaves he needed to cultivate and work in those farms. Hence, breeding more slaves by putting the male and female slaves together to breed was the only means of expanding and increasing his farm productivity and be counted as the rich in the eyes of the public world.

Some have continued to wonder why our government should extend social welfares to those black children who have children out of wedlock without job and without financial means to sustain themselves and their babies. Our government being so considerate, created social welfares to take care of such needs considering the past history of those children of color and the impact of slavery on their social lives in society.

The truth of the story is that black women in the American history and culture still suffer from the lasting effect of the stigma of slave caste.  The basic idea about slavery is that a slave can never be equal with a freeborn citizen.  Hence, the Blacks and the Whites could never live and work together as co-equal citizens. But thanks to the selfless sacrifices of men of goodwill and noble character among the super breed of the white folks who not only frowned at the evils of slavery but shed their blood to bring it to an end. It is not their white skin that reckoned them as super breeds but their deeds and sacrifices.

Although the thirteenth amendment of the American Federal Constitution in 1865 abolished slavery, and the fourteenth amendment in 1868 conferred full citizenship on the emancipated Negro slaves, and the fifteenth amendment of 1870 conferred on the blacks the right to vote, many of the whites then were not in acceptance of these amendments and their implications psychologically.  So despite the emancipation from slavery and all the amendments of the Federal Constitution to accommodate the freed Negroes, the blacks in general and the black women in particular, continued to suffer all kinds of marginalization in different disguises, both physically and psychologically even in their relationships with the white women folks.
However, today the story is something totally different. Thanks to so many men and women of color who in spite of the tide of evil of discrimination and man’s inhumanity to man, have mowed their way through different barriers of gender bias, skin color, race, tenure factor and glass ceiling to acquire key offices and positions in society, national and global recognitions for their achievements in the fields of Art, Politics, Music, Athletics, etc., in the American history and culture.

Since there are so many black women who in spite of the blocking barriers have made it to the top and registered themselves among the world classics, greats and heroes, because of time factor, I will cite 7 examples of women in each field of achievements. I will limit my examples to only four fields of achievements namely, Politics, Music, Literature and Athletics, in the American history and culture.

 

BLACK WOMEN POLITICIANS IN THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE:

1. Rosa Parks (1913-2005) a civil rights activist and a member of NAACP is ever to be well remembered for her act of civil disobedience that gained national attention when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, an action that sparked a wave of protest among African Americans which led to a boycott of the Montgomery bus system, and has forever set in motion the wheel of justice for African Americans. Rosa Parks was the first woman to lie in state at the United States capitol in Washington, D.C. when she died in 2005.

2. Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

3. Carol Moseley Braun (1947-) was the first African American woman elected to the Senate in 1992 to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate.

4.  Patricia Roberts Harris (1924-1985) served as the secretary of housing and urban development from 1977-1979 and was the first African American woman to be a member of a presidential cabinet. Harris was also the first African American woman appointed to a U.S. ambassadorship.

5.  Condoleeza Rice (1954-) was the first black woman to ever serve as the head of the National Security Council. In 2005 Rice became the first African American woman to serve as secretary of state.

6. Susan Rice (1964-), appointed by Barack Obama in 2009, is the first African-American woman to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

7. Michelle Obama: was the first African American Woman to become the First Lady of the United States of America on Jan 20, 2009, and was the 46th First Lady in the history of the United States of America.

BLACK WOMEN MUSICIANS IN THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE :

8. Marian Anderson (1897-1993)Performing at Lincoln Memorial: After being barred from singing in the concert hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution, singer Marian Anderson, gave a free, open-air recital on the steps of Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 before a crowd estimated at 75,000. Marian Anderson was also an internationally celebrated contralto singer and the first African American to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

9. Whitney Houston: Whitney Houston (1963) is an American singer and actress whose first four albums, released between 1985 and 1992, amassed global sales in excess of 86 million copies.
10. Leontyne Price (1927-), a lyric soprano, performed on Broadway, on television and in opera houses. She was one of the first African American women to achieve international acclaim on the opera stage.

11. Beyonce Knowles, got her start with the Grammy-winning group Destiny’s Child but has had multi-platinum success as a solo artist.

12. Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs in her lifetime and was the first African American woman to win a grammy.

13. Etta James (1938-), is well known for her ballad “At Last,” and continues to perform and won her most recent Grammy Award in 2004.

14. Queen Latifah (1970-) earned a Grammy Award in 1993 for her single “U.N.I.T.Y.,” which decried sexism and violence against women.

 

BLACK WOMEN AUTHORS IN THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE:

15. Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 for her poem, “Annie Allen.” Brooks was the first African-American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize.

16. Rita Dove (1952- ) was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress in 1993. Dove was the youngest person and first African American appointed Poet Laureate.

17. Maya Angelou:  is a celebrated author and poet. Her first autobiography,  “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” described her tumultuous childhood.

18. Toni Morrison (1931-): is a celebrated author of the African American experience. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for her novel, “Beloved.” In 1993 Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

19. Alice Walker (1944-): is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, which was adapted into both a film and a stage production.

20. Philllis Wheatley (c.1753-1784), captured in West Africa and taken to Boston as a slave, went on to become a published author in the United States and England. Copies of Phillis Wheatley’s books and Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, are on display at the Old South Church in Boston, 1995.

21. Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) was the first African-American woman playwright to have a play produced on Broadway.

 

BLACK WOMEN ATHLETES IN THE AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE:

22.  Althea Gibson (1927-2003) was known for her victory in the French Championships known as the French Open in May 1956. She was also the first African American woman to win the Wimbeldon tennis tournament.

23. Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994): crossed the finish line to win one of her three gold medals at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Rudolph was the first black and American woman to win three track-and-field gold medals in a single olympics.

24. Alice Coachman (1923-) was the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in high jump. Coachman won the high jump at the 1948 London Olympics.

25. Florence Griffith Joyner (1959-1998), nicknamed FloJo, won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. FloJo set world records in the 100 meter and 200 meter distances that have stood since 1988.

26. In 2002, Vonetta Flowers became the first black athlete to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics, in Salt Lake City.

27. Venus Williams at Wimbeldon: Venus Williams celebrates her semi-final victory in tennis over Maria Sharapova at the 2005 Wimbeldon Championships. Williams went on to beat Lindsay Davenport to win the championship.

28. Serena Williams: clutches the trophy in tennis after winning the 2009 Australian Open. She beat Russian player, Dinara Safina, in the championship match.

 

CONCLUSION:
My dearest people of America, the children of the living God, the dream of our brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has come true. His prophecy has been fulfilled. For today the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners can now sit together and compete on equal basis in different fields of life, education, literature, politics, music, athletics, media, etc. Hence, our women of color are no longer judged by the color of their skin but by their merits based on their individual efforts and skills. Hence, given the chance and the opportunity, Oprah Winfrey was able to host the greatest TV shows that attracted and captivated the greatest audience in the American media history.
For the fact that black women were able to mow their way through different barriers of gender, Race and color, the beauty and glory of womanhood shone more outstandingly by virtue of their accomplishments in spite of the history and culture that stood against them.

Hence, today America is living out the true meaning of its creed, that all men are created equal regardless of their color, race or gender. It is the only country in the whole world that bears the heavenly pattern whereby men and women of different races, colors and languages from all over the world live together in common brotherhood sharing life, problems, joys and sorrows together, constantly amending constitutions, rules and regulations to enhance and advance order, liberty, justice and happiness for all. The perfection of these is what we are all looking forward to enjoying hereafter in our heavenly home where people of different races, colors, gender, nations and languages will reunite around God’s throne to worship him, love him and be with Him forever.

My talk presentation today is not meant to incite women to lord it over men because they are highly gifted and suited for all things by nature. Their gifted noble qualities are meant to serve the good of humanity and restore order and harmony in the universe wherever it has been lost, be it in their homes or in society. Their awareness of their inherent power and what they can do should command their humility ever more than before.

My talk presentation today is not meant to incite men to grumble since it is useless to cry for the sky because our hands can never reach it. But God has blessed men awesomely by placing women together with all their gifted qualities under men to even the equation. God has designed that men and women should be supportive of one another and no one should subject the other to a miserable servitude. It is in this way that we can restore perfect order and harmony in the world.

Regarding the evil of abortion, I want women to know that abortion is the brainchild of men so that they can have all the sexual gratifications they wanted without much liability. Most of the time, women who took in would like to keep their babies but their men would say no and suggest abortion. Condom and contraceptives were all advanced by men so as to maximize their sexual exploitations of women. Women always suffer the pains, the stigmas and scars but men go free.

By virtue of their gifted nature and qualities I call upon women of the United States of America regardless of their race and color, to arise and say no to abortion and request for the revise of its legalization. It lies within their power and competence to fight for the protection of the unborn babies and bring about the revise of its legalization only if they agree.

To God be the Glory for the gift of women in the human race and for the beauty and glory of womanhood and for all their achievements all over the world especially in the United States of America.  To God be the Glory for the outstanding achievements of black women in the American history and culture in spite of all barriers of race, color and gender which further attests to the gifted nature, power, nobility and dignity of womanhood.