My dearest Sophia,
This black history month, as we reflect on the past and think on what the future holds, there are several things I want you to know.
You’ll begin to notice that as you go through school, when your teachers speak on black history this month, they’ll often start at slavery. Understand daughter, although there is rich history of our people during that time, black people existed long before slavery! In fact, there is a greatness that exists in Africa that goes largely unspoken of, particularly during black history month. There were established civilizations, brave warriors (both male & female!), opulent resources and kings and queens in Africa all before the first slave ship left the shores of Africa. There are more black heroes than just those you’ll be made aware of: inventors, preachers, nurses and writers. Black people did not stop doing great things at the Civil Rights Movement. Just so you know my girl, there is a story that can be found beyond the pages of your textbooks. I challenge you to explore that history, broaden your knowledge; but always know that for the believer, identity is found in Christ and in Him should we find a worth, our values and our only boast.
Sophia, you are the product of grace; a beautiful combination of an insightful man from Philly and a country-bred woman from Bunn. Your grandfather is the wisest man you’ll ever meet, most of which was obtained by the Lord’s grace and having lived a hard life as the son of a sharecropper who had 21 children, primarily for the purpose of farm labor. Your grandparents grew up in an area where they’d have to walk to a “colored school” as white children on buses passed them by, a time where they were told to get in the back of the line in grocery stores to let white people ahead of them, during the time where the Freedom Riders, race riots and Dr. King and Malcolm X were on the evening news. Your Great-grandfather was the son of a slave and a native American who’s lives I’m sure contain untold horrors, though we know very little of them. Your other grandfather is a Philly-native whose geographic location was a result of the Great Migration as his family were once slaves in Georgia but were among the other 6 million freed black families who took the opportunity after Emancipation to seek a better life in the North. Otherwise, unfortunately baby girl, we are unable to trace much further than that, unlike others who have the privilege of hanging family photos in their home of their relatives through the ages; we know very little of our lineages after your great-great grandparents. Nevertheless, from the ancestors we are aware of, we do know that we are blessed Sophia. The Lord determines the spaces and times in which we live and it is by His grace alone and their stories are not also a reality for us. By His grace, though we still live in a broken society, its brokenness plays out in much different ways for us. For that, we should esteem our ancestors for the trials they endured but praise God for where and when He has placed us.
My beautiful baby girl, understand that the Lord is your Creator, it was He who knit you together in my womb. It was He who created you as a strong, beautiful, funny and intelligent girl. However, the sad reality is that we live in a society that will not value your worth. When you see images of beauty on television, they will not often look like you and magazines, movies and models only affirm this. Unfortunately those who are deemed as beautiful in our society often don’t look like us. Sadly enough, what you will regularly see are black females portrayed as loud, ghetto, abrasive or even worse, as sex objects. When you come of dating age, you may hear from the lips of males that they will never date a black woman or that you’re pretty…for a black girl. Though these things are not always the case, it is unfortunately often enough where you may begin to notice a pattern. You’ll hear little talk of black women you can actually look up to. But know daughter, your worth cannot derive from the ever changing, broken world around you. You must find your worth and value in the One unchanging God who cares for you. Do not allow this world to determine your worth and beauty and don’t dare waste your energy and intelligence on attempting to conform. Look instead to the pages of scripture Sophia, see a God who thinks you are wonderfully made. Look to our beautiful Savior, for in Him we find true beauty, though He lived amongst a people who misunderstood His worth. See in Him a High Priest who knows your struggles and take refuge there.
This black history month Sophia, know your history, know our value, the source of your beauty, and as with each day, know your Savior and let this be your chief pursuit.
I love you dearly,
My name is Krystal Wilson. I am a native of Bunn, NC, married to Maurice Wilson. I have a master’s degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology with a passion for helping people and an ultimate desire to see low-income, high-crime areas across the world changed by the gospel!