African-American women – against all odds

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By Stephanie E. Wilson-Coleman

Recently, Rev. Michael Beckwith, Agape International Spiritual Center, said every problem is afraid of our potential because as we raise our potential, our problems dissolve and become the stepping stone to a greater expression of ultimate Reality.

African Americans have always been treated as racially inferior and have continuously fought to overcome socio-economic inequality.  But as a people, we have always known that “life ain’t no crystal stair. It has tacks in it and splinters and boards torn up, places with no carpet on the floor.” (Langston Hughes)

Our ancestors experienced many days when the problems seemed larger than the universe itself, but as a spiritual people something inside demanded that they continue to believe in, fight for, and even give their lives for a nation, a world where freedom was allowed to ring in every city.

Possessing a dream and guts, African American women have made a huge impact on both the American culture and the world.

Harriet Tubman, later known as “Moses,” born a slave in 1820 risked her life to become an infamous conductor on The Underground Railroad. Harriet made 19 trips and freed over 300 slaves. Some historians have estimated the count to be more than 1,000. Harriet stated she would have freed more if they had known they were slaves.

“When we raise our potential our problems dissolve and become a greater expression of ultimate Reality.”

Madame CJ Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, became America’s first self-made female millionaire.  Because African American women were not allowed to shop in major department stores, Madame CJ Walker created the home party sales model.

Mary McLeod Bethune started a private school for African American children in Daytona Beach, Florida known today as Bethune-Cookman University.

Rosa Parks, a seamstress by trade, was very active in the Montgomery Improvement Association. Refusing to give her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus became the catalyst for a life-changing boycott in Montgomery, AL. Rosa Parks would later work with the Southern Poverty Law Center to erect the Wall of Tolerance.  This 20-by-40 foot wall contains the names of more than a half a million people who have pledged to stand against hate. Champagne and Beyond Publisher Midge Kimberly’s name is among the names of those who have pledged to work against injustice.

Today, African-American women have achieved some tremendous feats.

  • African-American women have become the most educated group in America. Nine point seven percent of African-American women are enrolled in college as compared to 8.7 percent for Asian women and 7.1 percent for White women and 6.1 percent for White men. (www.theroot.com & www.brookings.edu).
  • African-American women are the fastest growing group of female entrepreneurs in the 21st century. African-American women entrepreneurs grew 67 percent between 2007 and 2012, compared to 27 percent for all women and 13 percent for White women (www.colorlines.com, www.fortune.com).

African-American women continue to demonstrate that “when we raise our potential our problems dissolve and become a greater expression of ultimate Reality.”

The stories of these women are intrinsically woven into the fabric of our souls. Allow these women who have discovered that the impossible simply means I AM POSSIBLE to inspire and uplift you. Know that you are powerful and creative and can overcome any challenge.

This column is dedicated to the women who have changed my life. Fortunately, there are too many to name. I pray your life is filled with great women also.

Remember, life is too short to drink cheap champagne.

Dream Big! Live the life you’ve imagined.

“Do not go gentle into that good night; find a hill worth dying for and take it; be the person you’re waiting for; make today so awesome, that yesterday gets jealous and above all else do it your way.”

Stephanie Wilson-Coleman lives her inspiration as the founder of The Champagne Connection, Inc.; the author of three books; and the host of the television show “A Sip of Inspiration,” http://www.asipofinspiration.com and http://www.champagneconnection.com.  She is a regular contributor to The MetaMonthly Magazine, Champagne and Beyond Magazine, www.champagneandbeyond1.com, and Ezine Articles.

 

 

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