“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison,” – Nelson Mandela, proof that the final form of love is forgiveness.
It is rare that one soul can impact all of ours – and make us more patient, more powerful and more human. Mandela was such a soul. And he will never leave us.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Phyllis Wheatley -- 1753 – December 5, 1784
Phyllis Wheatley was America's first African-American poet. A bronze sculpture, by Meredith Bergmann, celebrating Ms. Wheatley is on the mall on Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass.
Boston Women's Memorial: Phillis Wheatley
Commonwealth Avenue and Fairfield Street, Boston, MA
bronze and granite, 2003
bronze: 59” x 50” x 32”
Wheatley, a slave in colonial Boston, was our first published African-American poet. Her pose is derived from the only extant image of her. She represents youth and Imagination.
On Being Brought from Africa to America
'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
Remember, Christians, Negro's, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.
I read this poem as supremely sarcastic in the poet's intent. "Twas mercy brought me from my "Pagan land..." Really? Mercy took her away from her "Pagan" land? And taught her "benighted soul?" Benighted by the white masters? The most heartbreaking lines are the last 3: "Their colour is a diabolic die."/Remember, Christians, Negro's, black as Cain,/May be refine'd, and join th' angelic train."