Tag Archives: freedom fighter

Remembering Medgar Evers Today – “A Prose for Medgar and Myrlie” by Nikki Skies

It landed on the kitchen table next to the watermelon.  Like a Sunday newspaper on Thursday.  Set aside for recycling.  Or an abandoned spoon after dessert. It sat there foreign but familiar.  Like an African American in America.

The carousel sang loudly. Drowned out the relief of parental duties.  Playful screams resonated the atmosphere.  Cotton candy decorated white faces pink and blue. Mustard stains on white t-shirts. Scraped knees caused by unattended shoelaces. The day was glee and the night carefree, as flying gravel spun under running feet.

Her bladder was full of miles like her mother’s.  She watered the ground with chocolate auburn.  The spices enticed the clouds to cry and capture the streets.  She met him where the sun sat in the fire pit.  He kissed her hand to summons a feather so she wouldn’t doubt his words.  His eyes were complete like the turn of an owl’s head.  The preacher announced their commitment where roads met corners with mirrors.  He hung their picture in a birdcage to catch time.  He told them not to be afraid.

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The first season spread the hours like a bridge. He supplied water to dry, fallen branches daily.  Believers of the unseen.  She carried unicorns in her pockets.  They wore audacious yellows and greens in a black and white world.  Demanded freedom like 8 a.m. school bells.  Unbalanced as thick as unjust.  At night she placed sweet onions on his eyelids. He remained rooted.  His tongue poignant from the aroma.

Dog’s were death’s best friend.  Hydrants absent from fires.  Hoses present at protests.  Tilted buses full of spiritual songs.  Northern boys with fresh fists. Southern boys with patched will.  Northern girls with golden intuition. Southern girls with ancient maps.  Laughter extinct.  Spit like rain. Freedom rides. Spirits flew. Red summer. Blue years. Freedom wide. Hatred tall. Black bodies hung/ burned/ mutilated. Daylight tardy.

Soprano saxophone accompanied her screams.  Vibrato in her hands.  His head in her lap.  His eyes meeting her’s was the prize. “Sit me up, turn me loose.” Abandoned from forever. She sat him up. Erect as pillars.  Baroque rocked. Down. She sipped tea in China.

Scores for his name. His verses rhymed her forward.  Her passion sweet as fruit. Seasoned. Made days wet cement. For imprints. Slops. Hills. Concrete with purpose. His remembrances sleep at our feet.

 

a prose from the book,

Mississippi Window Crack

Autographed copies available here

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Re-membering Lugenia Burns Hope

As many of you know, I am a writer. I am so excited to share my latest work of fiction this fall, a work of historical fiction. During my research while writing the book, I came across one of the inspirations for my plot focus, and her name is Lugenia Burns Hope.

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Hope founded the Atlanta Neighborhood Union and was a social activist, reformer, and community organizer during the early 20th century. The Neighborhood Union worked to improve black communities through traditional social work, improved education opportunities, and community health campaigns. Hope was also one of the founding members of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club. The organization had the motto, “Lifting as we climb”, to demonstrate to “an ignorant and suspicious world that our aims and interests are identical with those of all good aspiring women.”

Look her up! She was a very important black women who stood for community reformation and liberation as well as placing voice to black women’s societal concerns. Upon re-entering grad school, I have come to realize that my work (including works of fiction) have been to place a black feminine presence in historic moments. Hope inspired and educated women that went on to found the Women’s Political Council (WPC) in Montgomery, Alabama that organized the infamous bus boycott.

His-story would like for us to think Black women’s contribution to civil rights were sporadic moments of genius and courage. This is far from the facts! We just don’t know their names! The names of these communities of women that organized and implemented movement for progress and change. This is Lugenia Burns Hope, and we thank her! Happy Birthday!

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Happy Birthday Aurelia Browder

We re-member you Aurelia Shines Browder Coleman!

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Aurelia Shines Browder Coleman was the name used to begin legal proceedings in Montgomery, Alabama against discrimination on public buses. In April 1955, Browder was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white rider, eight months before Rosa Parks and a month after the arrest of Claudette Colvin. She is important to me because his-story wants us to believe Rosa was the sole brave woman to begin this resistance. Montgomery had a community of women resisters! Thank you Aurelia!

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Some Time for Angela Davis

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Angela Davis is a political activist, academic and author. She emerged as an activist in the 1960’s in northern California with the Black Panther Party. The thing that I personally admire about Angela Davis is her willingness to grow and learn. Many of her contradictions have come from her speaking on new learnings where there hasn’t been a language for Black women. Therefore I don’t view these as contradictions, she was creating a language along the way. She was shifting point of views and stand points. And she continues to do so.

I have heard her speak several times. Once she mentioned that growing up in Birgmingham, Alabama she was friends with two of the girls now infamously known as “The 4 Little Girls”. I can only imagine that her critically thinking mind began back then.

Happy Birthday Angela Davis! Thank you!

 

An Act of Interruption

All along I have been doing work that interrupted the silencing of black women in his-story. This his-story includes the actual absence of her presence or her presence represented in vilified images or characteristics. Effortlessly, even through the pen strokes of black people, black women characterizations are resembling or in actuality that of the socially oppressive jezebel, tragic mulatto or big mama. Until going in to studies for Africana Women’s Studies, I didn’t have the language of what I was doing nor did I have the connections of other women that have doing this work for years.

My last novel, The Town Dance, I was inserting the silent voice of people who were victims to same gender sexual assault. The novel was my support for a dear friend who had been sexually assaulted by her girlfriend and dismissed the encounter with an uncomfortable laugh. I’ll never forget her looking at me, forcing a smile then saying, “she’s strong”. This was over 15 years ago. When I finally decided to write the novel, my internet search on the topic led me to pornographic sites or inconclusive court hearings. The writing process was therapy for me. Even though I have a community of gay friends, both men and women, I was terrified to be plagued with being considered “gay” if I wrote the book. Actual terror would travel my body as I imagined people staring at me questioning if I was a gay women. I had to confront my homophobia and fears, have confronting, vulnerable conversations with friends and then heal. Afterwards, I wrote the book.

A project that has been in my head for years comes from visits to Montgomery, Alabama and one of their historic sites from the civil rights movement. This relatively flat land, small city was once a huge mobilizing force for progressive efforts of black people. The communities that once flourished are now abandoned and its buildings dilapidated. But the stories live on.

The stories of the brave men that faced, often times, violent resistance in their fight against Jim Crow. As always, I wondered what the women were doing. The beautiful black and white photos that display their wrinkle-free dresses and unstained white or pastel colored gloves gave them a physical presence. But the texts were absent of their words, their actions. So I began research and found women that I felt needed to be given voice. After years of imagining their world, visiting Montgomery and sitting in my car in the neighborhood I wanted to focus on, the book is slated be released October of 2019. My first take at historical fiction. I love this book and so excited to share it with the world in the upcoming months.

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50 Years Ago Today

On this day 50 years ago, one of the greatest leaders this world has every known, delivered his last speech.  Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today.

Here is a snippet of his last speech, “I Have Been To The Mountaintop”:

Sister SOS (Inspired by Kathleen Cleaver)

She’s heard more eulogies than poetry so I wrote this for her.

Amidst the sips of licorice tea, I asked her
“what would she do differently.”

She replied she’d “love as fearlessly as she fought
take more time,
soak the greens instead of rinse ’em”
research his heart as she did antiquity.

She truly believed that for years she had a melody
but never a song
no vibration
no balance
“conquer your souls duality” she told me
the world is depending on you to love
surrender, Sister.

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Nikki Skies, ©2007 Published in anthology of “His Rib: Stories Poems & Essays by HER” by Penmanship Publishing Group