Wednesday, May 28, 2014
REPOST: In Honor of Maya Angelou
REPOST from February 12, 2013!
Originial Blog here!
A few weeks ago, I was honored with the opportunity to hear Maya Angelou have a conversation with Johnnetta Cole. Maya talked about courage, and courage has been on my mind every since.
I have thought a lot about the Lion from The Wizard of Oz. The lion was going to the Wizard to ask for courage. The lion "attacks so quickly that the victim does not get any time to protect itself. It attacks the big animals like wild buffaloes and giraffe from behind and then tears them apart with the help of its paws and teeth. Due to this quickness and power, it is known as The King of the jungle." (http://www.thegeminigeek.com/)
So, why would a Lion, who is known as the King of the Jungle, need to ask for courage?
Did the Lion not know that he is The King of The Jungle? If he did not know, why did he not know?
A lion may not be born with courage, just like many of us, but once he kills a small animal, and then a medium animal, his courage should start to grow.
Whenever we take that first step, the courage may not be there, but as we take more and more steps, our courage should start to grow.
For instance, I have been teaching for about fifteen years and every time that I get up to teach a class, I always feel a bit of nervousness and have some doubt, but as the years progress, my courage continues to grow and grow and grow.......
Maya Angelou stated that people like her, some of our American icons, had to develop their courage; It was not always present...
It takes the first step and courage for a person to leave a relationship that is not working, for a young man or woman to leave their home to become a soldier, for a person to change their entire diet, to publicly confess love for a person when you do not know how that person feels about you, to not react, to run one mile, two miles, a half or full marathon, to give up coke, to give up fast food, to have a courageous conversation, to finish a degree, to bury somebody whom you love with your whole heart etc.
We already have the courage; we just need to develop it by taking the first step.
It took one step and courage for Nelson Mandela to get out of prison and forgive the people who imprisoned him. It took one step and courage for Dr. King to leave his house when he knew that death was lurking everywhere. It took one step and courage for Southern me, who had never been in an inner city school before, to teach in inner city Detroit. It took one step and courage for my Dad to sue Alabama Power Company for Discrimination when he could have been fired, and he had ten mouths to feed. It took one step and courage for my mother, in her 70s, to decide that she would start a new life in a new town. It took one step and courage for many of you to decide that you would give up something this month when a whole lot may be working against you.
However, I have not heard one person, who made that first step, say that he/she regretted taking that first step......
I am thinking about the people of The Montgomery Boycott who had to be concerned with how they would get to work if they did not ride the bus. I know there were some Black people who rode that bus because of the fear of how they would get to work, to the grocery store, across town to shop. BUT, there were others who took that first step and a neighbor dropped by to walk to work with them, and the next day someone borrowed a car to pick them up, and the next day there was a private taxi service that came to pick them up, and their courage grew and grew.
To try and stop the boycott, Whites turned to violence, but by this time, the people's courage was so high until they "would not let nothing turn them around."
After a year of courageously not riding the buses, the buses were finally integrated. However, the trouble did not stop: buses were shot at, and homes were bombed. However, the scare tactics no longer had an effect, because the people's courage had grown.
This is no different than the small things, compared to segregating a bus system, that we are trying to give up. The first day may be difficult, but each day our courage will get stronger. If there are people in your home who are trying, consciously or unconsciously, to stop you; eventually, they will be no match for your courage, and they may even join you. My Dad use to say "If people can't beat you; they will join you."
Just like the Lion, we do not need to ask for courage, we already have it......
Maya left a huge legacy behind, and we can do the same!
Let's Get Busy, My People.....
Happy, Hump Day!