Syreeta McFadden in The Guardian:
“A black president. Yay. A black wife.”
Back in 2008, on that balmy November night, I stepped outside of the Blue and Gold bar in New York’s East Village and made one phone call after the network news called the election, naming Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States. I called my grandmother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We were both ecstatic, yet overwhelmed, in that happy-sad kind of way. “In your lifetime Granny,” I said to her in a kind of awe. “In your lifetime. In your lifetime,” I repeated over and over to her. My grandmother was a child during the Great Depression; her parents paid poll taxes to vote in local and national elections in Jim Crow-segregated Tennessee. “In my lifetime,” she responded, “In my lifetime.” To watch 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin’s pure elation in meeting the nation’s first African American president and first lady is more than just confection. For black women born early in the 20th century, when the nation suppressed the civil, social and economic liberties of African Americans, when American society actively resisted the humanity of African Americans, to be alive and witness this particular historical moment – McLaurin’s dance of joy is celebration hard earned and won. My grandmother, like McLaurin, never expected to live to see the day.
During the 10 decades of McLaurin’s life, black women have been both critical actors and witnesses in the great story of African Americans in the United States. They helped to create a world for this moment. While the list below is far from comprehensive, it is but a modest sampling of black women who were leaders and vanguard, women we should remember in shaping American life and culture this black history month.
More here. (Note: At least one post will be dedicated to honor Black History Month throughout February)