Today, in honor of Women’s History Month, I’m going to do something slightly different: honor an unknown woman — in fact, unknown women — by sharing a poem from my third collection of poetry, The Black Feminine Mystique. It is entitled, “A Statue for the Unknown Slave Woman?”
Her broad hips had launched a thousand slave ships.
On the transatlantic “trip” her fate was sealed;
She was repeatedly raped, bore slaves for an alien race.
On the auction block she stood protuberantly pregnant,
While White men gathered around her, rubbed her belly,
And then fiercely bid to own her fertile body.
America harbors the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island,
A torch upraised in one of her hands, lighting the way,
For the tired, poor, huddled White masses yearning to be free.
Perhaps off the coast of the Carolinas, on Sullivan Island,
America should erect a statue, call it Lady Slavery,
For the stolen, shackled Black masses also yearning to be free.
Untold wealth had issued from Lady Slavery’s womb.
Why not a statue for this unknown woman, or a tomb?