By Beverly Guy-Sheftall

During this groundbreaking number of articles, Dr. Guy-Sheftall has taken us from the early 1830s to modern occasions. simply because the seventies have black ladies used the time period 'feminism.' And, but, it's that idea that she makes use of to convey into an analogous body the tips and analyses of Maria Stewart, Sojourner fact, and Frances Harper of the early 19th century, and the paintings of ladies reminiscent of Audre Lourde, Barbara Smith, and bell hooks, who stand at the threshold of the twenty-first century. --from the epilogue via Johnnetta B. Cole, President, Spelman collage

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They were witnesses to beauty. In Wendell Berry’s important discussion of the relationship between agriculture and human spiritual well-being, The Unsettling of America, he reminds us that working the land provides a location where folks can experience a sense of personal power and well-being: We are working well when we use ourselves as the fellow creature of the plants, animals, material, and other people we are working with. Such work is unifying, healing. It brings us home from pride and despair, and places us responsibly within the human estate.

Even though the men and women in my family history farmed, living off the land, I was not raised to be a farmer or a farmer’s wife. 42 Belonging My hands failed at quilting, at growing things. I could not do much with the needle or the plow. I would never follow aunts, uncles, nephews, and cousins into the tobacco fields. I would not work on the loosening floor. The hard, down and dirty work of harvesting tobacco would not determine my way of life. My destiny, the old folks constantly told me, was different.

And as the elders who had generously given of their stories, their wisdom, their lives to make it possible for me, and folks like me, to live well, more fully, began to pass away, it was only a matter of time before I would be called to remembrance, to carry their metaphysical legacy into the present. Among illiterate backwoods folk I had been taught values, given ethical standards by which to live my life. Those standards had little meaning in the world beyond the small Kentucky black communities I had known all my life.

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