Inspirational Poetry and Essay
In the spirit of Langston Hughes’ Mother to Son, Mother to Daughter is an inspirational poem about womanhood, wisdom, and a mother’s story.
Sojourner truth asked a question that was also an affirmative answer nearly two centuries ago. The question “Ain’t I a woman” was also an answer that affirmed and redefined womanhood. She addressed the men in the audience with a repetitive question that exposed the double standard by which black women and white women were viewed.
At that time, a black woman had to work as hard as a man and white women were considered too frail to work or even stepped down from a carriage.
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman?
Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well!
And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman? — Sojourner Truth, 1851 Women’s Right’s Convention in Acron, Ohio
With each word spoken, Truth challenges her male audience to not only see their double standard of womanhood, but to realize they have no place to define it.
Today, we are still struggling to define womanhood. We are still struggling to understand the difference between strength and frailty.
But, what if what makes us strong is womanhood itself.
In the spirit of Langston Hughes’s Mother to Son and in celebration of Mother’s Day. Let’s explore womanhood through the eyes of a Mother.
Mother to Daughter, A Poem
“Mom, how did you get so confident and strong?”
My daughter’s question lingers long
As I search within to find the words
to share a journey, she’s never heard