She was thrown into the dirt hair sweeping across her face. Her heart pounding through her chest, her vision blurred with tears, her skin chilled by the cool breeze, her reputation resembling that of sewage, her pride non-existent, and her dignity unattainable. She lay in her emotional, spiritual, and physical muck shifting her body to hide the guilt and shame that has come from her actions and nakedness. She then proceeds to contract every muscle in her body to create a hard surface to deflect some of the pain from the rocks. As she tenses her body, her muscles become tired and she releases the contraction only to discover that she has not yet been struck with a rock. As she opens her eyes and wipes the tears from them she sees a man writing in the dirt. Like Mary Magdalene the Black Woman of America has been constantly thrown into the dirt; the dirt of violent independence that is laced in fear. She was taken from her home; she was stripped from her land; she was beaten, bruised and raped but still managed to see a light. She was not allowed to marry; she was forced to raise the children of her Master. She was nothing more than The Help. Society proceeded to try and force her into boxes to meet their needs; the singer, the caretaker, the cook, the sex symbol, anything but a valued contributor. All through out society the Black Woman is as nothing more than an angry, ignorant, unattractive, violent threat to society, and many of us are constantly on our toes. We tip toe around women of color with the assumption that they bite, and the last time I checked I wasn’t an animal. Mainstream America continues to paint this vivid image of the Black woman and fails to relay the one that has made significant contributions. See my story is her story. I am who I am because of what the Black Woman went through and how she found strength to overcome. But what you must recognize is that this hard, vivid story is yours as well for without this you would not be you. I don’t know maybe you’re in denial but I feel like the Devil is constantly trying to stuff me into boxes and label me as his help. He whispers in my ear insecurity after insecurity, sin after sin. He pesters me so much so that sometimes I can’t even fight back and I’m thrown into the dirt. But if we go back to the story of Mary Magdalene we see that there’s deliverance in the dirt. See she had to be thrown into the dirt for Jesus to touch the dirt for her to experience restoration, and grace from being in the dirt. See what you have to understand is until you are thrown into the dirt you will never be able to rise like dust. See dust is the purest residue of dirt. It’s what’s rises when all the weight has been removed from it. But dust can’t rise until it has let go of being in the dirt. I don’t know about you but I want to be thrown into the dirt. Although the Black Woman was possessed, oppressed, and depressed by the accusations and presumptions of Main Stream America, she could still rise, you can look at her story and find hope. You no longer have to be possessed, oppressed, or depressed by the accusations and presumptions of the Devil. For sometimes it takes being thrown into the Dirt to remember where you’ve come from. Then, and only then will you be able to say to the Devil…
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like Christ is preparing me
a mansion with many many rooms.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my spirituality upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve victory by simply
Looking in my Creator’s eyes
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.