Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sharing Our Stories: Black Love Matters

Black Love Matters
A guest post by Dr. Angelle M. Jones

“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
– Luke 10:27 (NIV)

I’m currently reading President Barack Obama’s newest book, A Promised Land.

This idiomatic motif invites the open heart and mind of the reader to enter into a previously forbidden part of his life. President Obama uses this intimate and personal memoir to invite anyone interested to go on a journey with him into the White House Situation Room, and the presidential Oval Office.

The reader is also allowed to enter into the complex space inside the mind of a younger, rising, yet improbable presidential candidate. Of course, the reader is catapulted into one of the most compelling Black life expeditions ever experienced. In his most humble yet understandably confident way, Obama chronicles his journey. We hear the conflict, yet deep conviction, while searching for his authentic voice in the echoing chambers of the whitewashed world of Harvard Law School. From the ivory towered halls of Harvard to the sound of his paving the streets of Chicago (Illinois), serving as a grassroots community organizer, Obama as the author transports the reader from the written page to urban America where he gained momentum, to earning the right to become a well-respected political pundit.

In this lengthy, yet tell-all narrative, we learn some of the highs and lows from the first Black man to serve in the highest office of the United States. This true story is told by the voice of the one who rose from living in a small apartment dwelling in a predominately Black community in Chicago, to becoming the first Black inhabitant of the White House that Black slaves built. In the memoir, we get a glimpse of the man who will go down in history, not only as 44th President of the United States, but as the one the world watched emerge as the first of African descent to rise to that position of world-renowned power.

Not only from reading the book, but since becoming a public figure, one of the things that always stood out to me is Obama’s undying love for his wife Michelle. For those blinded by the political division or racial dissonance, or perhaps even a loathing disdain for the first Black President, you may have missed what remains clearly evident to the majority of the Black community. I’m sure I speak for many, more than the type of political leader one becomes, for the average card-carrying Black person, Black love reigns. Contrary to what is portrayed, no matter how many of the fifty percent of American marriages dissolved in Divorce Court include us, Black love matters.

Since slavery, marriages between African slaves and African-Americans today, have been depicted by Whites adversely. Possibly because marriage between slaves were not recognized as legal, slave masters didn’t regard the growing intimacy between slave men and women as love. Because White people did not consider those with black and brown skin to be considered human, the idea of property joining together in holy matrimony was probably as realistic to their slave masters as imagining their animals marrying. Subsequently, the idea of whether two melanin-dipped animals could experience true love was highly unfeasible.

Between slaves not being recognized as human and not being allowed to marry, what was missed through the blurred lens of slave masters was the inexplicable existence of an incomparable and enduring Black love. Fortunately, today, many real-life slave narratives are being discovered, some reflecting factual accounts of this resilient Black love. Stories of love able to withstand separation from their mate when one slave partner was ripped from their family to be sold to another master located hundreds of miles away. The deep and abiding love between two slaves, which may have been put on hold when unwillingly sold and separated, love which never ceased until they found one another. A love that allowed them to create their own version of a post-slavery, Happily Ever After. 

The narrative often cited as the number one reason for problems in the African-American community, is fatherlessness. For years now, White sociologists have studied, researched and deemed the lack of fathers in the home as the major cause for the so-called demise of the Black family. Fatherlessness has been blamed for everything from poverty to teen pregnancy. Since the Jim Crow era, reports and studies like the 1965 Moynihan Report, are used to prove the disconnected Black family is supposedly due to socially irresponsible Black people choosing to live together over marrying.

For years, sociologists have found ways to relieve White America of the guilt and responsibility for damaging the lives of generations of Black families. Psychologists would rather deny that perhaps the percentage of fatherlessness, and not marrying might be the residual traumatization of the thousands of Black people captured, stolen and brought unwillingly across the world in the belly of a ship, stacked like the animals it was made for. Truth is, surviving as enslaved people who were stripped of their culture and family identity reveal that Black love is probably one of the most resilient expressions of God’s love ever shown. Contrary to White sociological thought, Black love is authentic, giving, selfless, enduring and most importantly forgiving.

Think about it: If you are White and have one Black associate or friend, you are a recipient of that forgiving, Black love. Only a people who love God with all their heart, soul and mind can in return, extend that love to that neighbor who may also be their oppressor.

In a society that continues to demonize Black lives, when bombarded with media images causing you to question whether those Black lives are worthy of love, replace them with one of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama and capture the essence of Black love.

Hopefully this image will serve as a reminder that Black Love is worthy, and yes, it does matter.

Author Bio: 

“Inspiring and Motivating With the Power of Words” 

Angelle M. Jones believes that the power of words inspires, and motivate to bring about transformative change individually and collectively. 

Angelle originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American studies from the University of Cincinnati. Angelle has a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and an earned Doctorate in Ministry on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his philosophy of The Beloved Community from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Her ministry career began as a staff member of the Northeastern Ohio Billy Graham Crusade in 1994. For twenty years, as founder and director of In The Spirit Ministries, Inc., she led teams on mission outreaches throughout the world. From 2007-2012 Angelle served as Missions Director of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio where she currently resides. Angelle is founder and director of GlobaLife Coaching and Consulting serving as a Life and Transformation Coach and Church Consultant.

In 2016 Angelle authored and self-published her first book, Happily Never After. Along with sharing words of hope by sharing her writings on her social media platforms, she has been published in Vantage Magazine which is a literary source for faculty, students and alumni of Columbia Theological Seminary, and Ready, which is a cutting-edge online magazine addressing current events and trending socially relevant topics for women.

Angelle is the mother of an adult daughter. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother.

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