The Love of a Mother and Her Child


By Parlee Jones

Peace, InCity and CECELIA People!!! Spring … the season of love! I thought about a few topics to write about regarding love: being love, being in love, loving self, compassion and love for others, but then, I thought, hmmm … last month was Black History Month… So how do I combine LOVE and Black History?

For the month of February, I celebrated Ruby Bridges at the Worcester Public Library for my MONTHLY Black Culture Movie Matinee.

So, I have decided to talk about the love a mother has for her child.

Today, many parents have the option to “protect” their child from what they see as harm. And I wonder, how many mothers tried to “protect” their children during the days of slavery and Jim Crow.
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Even today, Black mothers and fathers, along with other parents of color, must have additional discussions with their children, other than the traditional “birds and the bees” conversation: We must talk about the assumed possible ways to stay safe during “routine” police stops and other encounters with law enforcement. And, in which neighborhoods to be aware of your surroundings.

Slavery in America … Imagine not being able to protect your child! Imagine that your child can be taken from you at any given moment, with the possibility of being sold away from you to never be seen again!

Imagine your child is taken away from you and you never see her or him again!

Imagine your child having to work from sun up to sun down from the age of 6 or 7, with the possibility of being beaten with a whip!

Imagine your child being used as alligator bait!

Imagine how these children felt being torn from all they knew!

Or being beaten and wondering why their mother or father could not protect them!

Are you horrified?

Yes! We all should be! But these are the facts that are omitted from our school history classes when we talk about chattel slavery in America.

These facts, along with many others. And this is slavery… If we look at Jim Crow, that is a whole other set of degradation and murder.

Jim Crow was the name of the American racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively, in our Southern and Border States, between 1877 and the mid-1960s.

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Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-Black laws. It was a way of life. Google Jim Crow laws and see how many of our states had these racist policies in place. And we won’t even talk about the Black Codes in this article. But I will give you a brief description for those who do their own research: Right after slavery was abolished in 1865 through 1867 Black codes existed mainly in the South. They were a way for white Southerners to try and keep Black people subservient and uneducated. Codes differed from state to state, but there was a common thread.

The fact that Black people are still battling fall-out from our past history is not widely acknowledged. Many white people just want folks to pull up their bootstraps, like they did, and do better. Wow. Some people don’t have boots. Some people don’t have legs. We are 153 years out from slavery, Jim Crow went from 1877 to the early 1960s. Then came the war against the Black Panthers and the Civil Rights movement. Really, not that long ago. There were no reparations given. Hmmmm. And yet, we still smile and work towards a peaceful existence in this country. Black women still carrying the majority of the work. And, still raising our children in hostile environments.

My challenge to you is this: Join us with your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, your friends’ kids … let them know what it took in order for them, or their friends with melanin, what they had to go through in order to get an education. Something that we take for granted in this day and age. I challenge you, to let them see, what one brave little girl, Ruby Bridges, and her family had to go through in order for us all to attend public school in America.
“Ruby Bridges” is a 1998 television film, written by Toni Ann Johnson and based on the true story of Ruby Bridges, the first black student to attend integrated schools in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960.

As a six-year-old, Ruby was one of four black first-graders, selected on the basis of test scores, to attend previously all-white public schools in New Orleans.

Three students were sent to McDonogh 19, and Ruby was the only Black child to be sent to William Frantz Public School.

The film was nominated for several awards, including an NAACP Image award. The writer, Toni Ann Johnson, won the 1998 Humanitas Prize for her teleplay. The film also won The Christopher Award.