An Open Letter To Black Mothers On Mother’s Day

May 12, 2013  |  

By j.n. salters

This letter is for my mother. Our mothers. Grandmothers. Aunts. Sisters. And all of the other black women who continue to raise black and brown warriors in this battlefield we call America. Who constantly find ways to make ends meet—in a world that continually fails to acknowledge your worth and beauty—just to keep smiles on our faces. To the only women who can grow roses from concrete. Turn scraps into Thanksgiving feasts. Who continue to love hard and wholeheartedly even when the world attempts to steal your joy. Still you rise.

I just want to say thank you. And that you are appreciated. Loved. Beautiful. Needed. I need you. WE NEED YOU. You deserve so much more than the words on this page. Than your lived realities. Than the media portrayals that negate your wonder. And caricature your splendor. Than the statistics that mock your circumstance. Ignoring your God-like abilities to raise invisible toy soldiers into Gabby Douglases and Quvenzhané Wallises. Turning forgotten flesh into souls on fire.

You deserve to have your faces carved into mountains. Plastered on dollar bills covering the faces of presidents who have stolen from you. Used your image against you. Lied to you. Made your plight invisible. You deserve to have your brown skin on every milk carton and news segment that privilege missing bodies that do not look like yours or your children’s. On the cover of every newspaper that fills its pages with stories of your fabricated inferiority. Leaving your existence in the margins. Near the end. At the back. We are Rosa Parks.

I wish everyone could see you from my eyes. Read the deep history embedded in your rich skin. The pigment of your imagination. The secrets that you hold in the arch of your back. How the sway of your hips creates masterpieces out of thin air. Reclaiming the fetishized movements of Sarah Baartman. How your thick-lipped words echo the endurance of Sojourner Truth. Ida B. Wells. Wilma Rudolph. Harriet Tubman. The everlasting effervescence of your soul that refuses to be broken. The miniature North Stars shining from your crescent-like eyes, leading us lost ones to freedom. Giving us the ability to dodge stray bullets. Dreams deferred. Project hallways turned Middle Passages.

I pray that they will someday see you. In me. In US.

With love,

One of your daughters


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  • JJonah

    That was hot!

  • Very encouraging. 🙂

  • rena

    Beautiful! Thank you…

  • Sagittarius81

    Happy Mother’s day to all the moms who are working hard and being there for their kids. I miss my mother and this is the 2nd mother’s day without her around, but she worked 2 jobs to keep a roof over our heads, put food in the house so we won’t go hungry, brought us books so we can learn, put clean clothes on our backs, took us to doctors in the middle of the night when we get sick, sent us to college and showed us love for life. She even gave me advice for how to be a great mother to my own daughter and I’m expecting another child this fall with my husband. Enjoy this day and remember what your mother has done for you, even if she’s gone, always remember what she has done for you and keep her in your memory.

  • Deborana Hueston

    To all the Mother’s, Happy Mothers Day. TO MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER I CHERISH EACH DAY WE SPEND, FRANCES HUESTON YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND THE ESSENCE OF LOVE,STRENGTH AND COURAGE . I AM SO BLESSED AND HONORED TO CALL YOU MOM. MAMA I ADORE YOU JOB WELL DONE. As for the poem amazing and beautifully written Great Job. To my Grandmother who has gone on to become our family Angel, CLORIA WHITE I love you. A true warrior who lead by example for almost 100 years. Grandma you left your foot prints for us to follow.

  • j a sassy

    What a beautiful poem, Thanks to all the wonderful black mothers and grandmothers who have kept up the strength and family structure..even most had to do it alone,,we are warrior women and most of the other type of women would not have the balls to do what we black women have done,,Thanks and Happy Mothers day to all the beautiful black women and mothers!

  • ChiTown Princess

    Happy Mother’s Day to my mom in heaven (my first Mother’s day without her here), my grandmother who is 89 and still going strong, and every mother out there doing their thing, including myself.

  • SheBe

    That was nice…

    Side Note: Speaking of black moms I’m surprised that you all haven’t jumped all over the pics of Monica and her baby bump.