“You are me. When I look at you, I see me. I see the young African American woman who, through good family values, strong roots, hard work, and perseverance, has come into her own … Though your journey may not be easy in the coming days, weeks, months, or years, think of us to ease your burden and pain. Think of those who you inspire. Think of those who you have given hope to. Think of those whom you have filled with pride. Think of your sister … Think of your favorite cousin. Think of your mother. Think of me. We are the same.”
“To you Michelle I take off my African woman hat from Cameroon, my motherland. You have given us African women the courage and the hope to move on and up. You keep your head high and hold your husband close to your heart. Keep praying my sister, you are the best. You have lived the dream of every ebony woman. Ride on sister, we are with you.”
“You are the song, you are the proverb, and you are the symbol of human dignity.”
“When you and your family go to the spot under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, where Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, you will take with you our history of dreams deferred; however, you will also take with you our prayers and hopes for an America that is ready to build and dream anew.”
“Thank you for your courage to say yes, to step from behind your private veil into the public eye, to step forward with the grace of boldness, to carry a message that ‘Hope is a wise decision’ and also teaching the importance of learning to prepare oneself because with hope, things can change. I sat next to my daughter, praying that all women would tell this message to themselves, their daughters and sisters, nieces and neighbors, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends and sisterfriends, strangers and mates. But most of all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart to remind me to keep being hopeful so I can keep flapping my wings and not be afraid to fly.”
“What I really want to say is thank you for existing and remaining visually the kind of woman I’ve always wanted to be. I’d given up hope. I’d given up hope that Black men could affectionately and passionately adore a woman publicly the way that your old man adores you. I’d given up hope that I’d get to keep my booty and succeed in the commercial production world of NYC. I honestly didn’t believe I’d be able to be intelligent and sexy at the same time and be taken seriously … You two have revolutionized what I believe to be possible in Black life. Black, young, sexy, beautiful, brilliant, and powerful. How marvelous.”
“We are one woman, blessed to be born Black in America … I rejoice for every little girl, every teenager, young adult and yes even every senior, who like me, can look at you and see herself. I rejoice for the mothers who loved their children as much as you and I do, yet could not protect them.”
“Thank you for making me reconsider bringing my Black babies into this world.”
Passionate, shattering, and tender, this astonishing book gathers together letters to Michelle Obama, written by African American and African women. Shortly after the election, the Uncrowned Queens Institute in Buffalo, New York, sent out a call across the country for African American women to share their hopes, fears, and advice with the new First Lady. Hundreds of letters and poems poured in, signaling both an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history and a remarkable opportunity for African American women to look at the White House and see and speak to one of their own there.
These very personal letters and poems, written by African American women from all ages and walks of life, celebrate a newfound hope for our world and children, speak to a strong sisterhood with the First Lady, confess often very private fears and dreams, and acknowledge and remember the generations before who endured so much for so long.
About the author
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold, a native of Louisiana, is a
lifelong resident of Buffalo, New York. She is a retired educator, counselor,
and community and political activist. She is cofounder of the Uncrowned Queens
Institute for Research and Education on Women, Inc., and coauthor of the
Uncrowned Queens: African American Women in Community Builders of Western New
York series with Peggy Brooks-Bertram. In addition to the Uncrowned Queens, her
other passion is family history research. Nevergold and her husband of forty-one
years, Paul, have two children, Alanna and Kyle, and one grandchild,
Peggy Brooks-Bertram is a native of Baltimore,
Maryland, and has lived in Buffalo, New York, since 1986. She is a scholar on
the life of Drusilla Dunjee Houston. In 2007 she published a long-lost
manuscript of Houston’s, Origin of Civilization from the Cushites, for
which she received Honorary Mention in the Best Black Books for 2007. She is
currently writing a biography on Houston. She is the mother of two children,
Lillian Yvonne-Margaret, a poet and photographer, and Dennison Ivon Jean
Bertram, an international photographer. Her husband Dennis Bertram is also an
artist. Brooks-Bertram is also a community activist with interests in the health
care of African American women.
Barbara and Peggy are the recipients of
the 2009 New York State Women of Excellence Award in Education.
You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.