First Person

Birthing you is an act of radical hope

Accepting the call to Black motherhood without averting my eyes from the spectacle of Black death

Dear Max,

When I was a child, your grandmother whispered the same words of love into my ear every night when I crawled into bed: “You are beautiful. You are brave. You are God’s beloved one.”

I didn’t know then that these were ancient words, passed down from Black mothers to their children in slave quarters and cotton fields, shotgun houses and urban ghettos. Prophetic utterances that affirmed the humanity of Black children in a world that did not love them back. Radical words, shaped on the road between Sarah’s longing and Hagar’s cries for deliverance. This was a vision of the future not yet come to pass, a world in which all babies can freely dream and hope and create and wonder and live without the threat of violence looming like a thief in the night.