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Nevertheless, She Persists

Texts by The Writeous Poets
October, 2020

I Guess I'm Just Used to It

I Guess I’m Just Used to it 
By Ansley Caldwell 

Being a girl, I’ve never felt inferior
It never really bothered me that a man was thought to be my superior
I was never told, “Don’t talk, just listen”
never told to stay in the kitchen
I never believed the lies and standards made up for women
and I never saw it as a problem.
I never thought twice about any of it.
Until one day,.
my teacher told all the boys to go to one side of the room, and the girls to the other,
then he told us to get out a piece of paper and a pen

He wanted each side to write about the things each group had to remember before and while going out

Nothing specific really came to mind, and then the words flowed right out of my mouth.

“Don’t park in parking garages, because there’s too many ways that could go south

Get to where you need to go, don’t stroll about, 

Always be aware of your surroundings, and be careful at the destination of your outings

If a man tries to do anything to you, scream loudly,

Keep pepper spray or something with you when going somewhere sketchy or new

Go to the bathroom in groups. Not because it’s fun, but because it’s safer

Don’t make much eye contact with men, you never know what situation you could accidentally be getting yourself in

Bring your phone with you everywhere,
not because you’re insecure or addicted to it,
but because you want to have help if someone tried to take you”
That list was long,
But then time ran up and there were still more precautions to add on
After we made this whole list, 
we read what we could aloud 
I never thought about it before, how sad it is that the list is so long


I Am Enough 
by Jamee McAdoo

I am enough. 
& although saying that out loud sometimes is tough... 
I know I am tougher. 
And when it comes to dealing with tragedy or hard times, I know a lot of people have it rougher. 
But I’ve been through my own deal of suffering and sometimes that’s dirt I try to cover. 
But when I look in the mirror, there’s still stuff I discover.
I look into my eyes and I realize all the real lies I’ve told. 
High self-esteem is just a band aid...
over a broken bone.
You can have your self-esteem be high sometimes and other times low.
It’s okay to feel like you have both. 
It’s kinda like bifocals. If I tilt my head a certain way, I have a different prescription — I mean perception of how I look that day. I’m not pretty enough,
thick enough,
perfect enough.
But there is not one way to be beautiful.
Sometimes I look at my 85% on that test that I studied so hard for and compare it to that 98% the boy by the door got without even trying. 
and I feel like I’m not genius enough,
studious enough,
perfect enough,
but there is not one way to be brilliant.
Sometimes I hear my writing and read others and then feel discouraged...
like I’m not creative enough,
talented enough,
perfect enough,
but there is not one way to create art.
& it feels so good to say that.
To hold the feelings of self-doubt and just shake that. 
To know that I am exactly how and who I am supposed to be...
and that, I find comforting.

It’s easy to face darkness when you believe in light.
Ignore when things go left and 
know it’ll all end up alright’ 
Smile despite pain
because a rainbow needs rain.
Never talk about yourself in vain.
Diamonds can only form through pressure. 
Know that you. are. a treasure! 
That you grow through what you go through 
That you’re a gem, nothing lesser. 
You are a work in progress
You are a work of art but it’s a process.
I realized this and I’ve been content ever since. 
Carefree but not careless.
Self driven but not selfish.
living life and loving life with no limits. 
Because I know that I am enough! 



Lifting and Climbing 
by The Writeous Community

The country’s greatest leaders 
Are not limited to the few main ones we learn about
The best leaders are those that without a doubt
This world just would not be the same without

With lifting as we climb as my motto
I - Mary Church Terrell gave a constant hand up
For a race 
For a gender 
And for a country 

My parents were enslaved 
My freedom was encouraged
One of the 1st Blk millionaire families
One of few blk families out of millions
To have a daughter with a masters

I - Mary moved to DC and taught
Marry is what I did when I found a teacher
Robert Terrell learned I was a wife on a shocking

Even as I fought for women’s rights 
from the Black section of the suffrage march on Washington

What happened when my Memphis friend became fruit for the hanging tree
What happened when my attempts to integrate establishments were a dangerous plea
What happened when I explained black women suffer twice the inhumanity
Well I helped found the National Association of Colored Woman 
The National Association of university Women 

With lifting as we climb as my slogan 
I - Mary Church Terrell created platforms to stand witness
Carved cliffs of progress into the mountainside of racism 
Because the opposite of white male privilege is plain
It’s a Black woman’s pain
I penned her autobiography
A colored women in a white world 
to show what I had to continually lift myself out of

I won a discrimination suit 
to be the 1st Black member of The American Association of University Women
so others could be the 2nd and 3rd
It’s been said

It takes a true leader to burn bright for the under-represented
To appreciate and highlight the ones never in the spotlight
To fight
To stand up for equity and unite for equal rights
It takes a true leader to do what hasn’t been put before your sight
To challenge social norms
To push boundaries despite the fright
And to reach new heights

With lifting as we climb as my calling
I didn’t hesitate 
I partnered with Ida B. Wells on anti lynching efforts
To fight hate
I believed in education, work, and activism
I believed 
as 1 succeeds the whole race will elevate 

I - Mrs. Terrell saw the 19th amendment as part of my legacy
Why would anyone be opposing women voting
Because it was no doubt part of the fight 
For which I was divinely chosen

My fight was against gravity
A gravity that continues to want to keep down Blacks
A gravity that continues to want to keep down women
A gravity named racism and sexism
But when you have lifting as we climb as a Devine commandment
You end up with a life worth living 
See I just wanted to do it well
And I am Mary Church Terrell

I Am Enough

by Jai Starkey

She is a warrior.
Her body is armor, protecting those she holds close
Her heart, and open wide room to create space for more to encounter the love only she gives
Her mind strong she fights every day to be better than the last

She is an angel.
Her wings wrap around us keeping us together when we feel as if we may fall apart
The way she makes you feel you are her one and only obligation is a god sent.

She is beautiful.
Her body carries life.
Her uniqueness makes her even more brilliant.
Her marks and scars are proof of love and life only she experienced

She is love itself.
Her heart beats for her children.
Her life revolves around her children.
Every meal, every laugh, and every kiss was made w/ a fragment with her heart

She is mine
our friend. Our protector. Our mentor. Our personal superhero
And we have the privilege to call her woman.

Ain’t I... 
by Norel McAdoo

Breaking from bondage
Conqueror of chains 
Comfortability in my femininity 
And belief in change

But I can only wish.. I could tell you 
If we all come together it’ll happen
Just spread a little love that’s all that we’re lacking 
But continuing bad behavior in this country is a bad habit 
A lot of people neglect the fact that we have any 

They say racism doesn’t exist
Sexism is real 
Yet we supremist groups running rapid 

But the future lemme tell u what I see 
Or lemme tell u what I hope 

I hope that one day I can go to church and then come back home 

I hope that one day I can walk down a street and not get eyed like a telescope 

I hope that one day my president doesn’t say what he really means and then say he misspoke

In the future we, everybody in here, is determining what it’s going to be 
But if some of us don’t fall too far from the tree 
You continuing the cycle that you got from yo parents seeds 

Ain’t I a woman I agree

To shed our past skins of self hate 
We must sacrifice pride that has gotten in the way 
reshape it 
Rename it 
The future will set a universal truth free, our women are queens



The Greatest Actors 
by Victory Jackson 

Black women are often left out of history. But to their daughters, their existence and importance has never been a mystery.
After doing extensive research for the last seventeen years of my life, I’ve found out the greatest actors are not people like Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, or Robert De Niro[a]. They’re often women of all various hues and not just those who are white.

The greatest actors known in mankind are black women.

Mothers are the first actresses we daughters ever come to know.  Their performances are Oscar worthy to tell you the truth, they play so many roles throughout our lives and especially in our youth.

Mamas often weep at night, and the next morning, go to work with a smile on their face, pretending throughout the day, that everything was ok.

Pretending that the lights were on at home, pretending that she didn’t feel all alone, in the big world of 7 billion people but for some reason, she was invisible.

the first lesson learned in a black woman’s acting class is to masquerade (pause), to paint a smile on your face, to move with grace. Don’t be too firm, never raise your voice, don’t draw attention to yourself and don’t make too much noise. always remain humble and meek, because remember you are a black woman and an angry woman is not what you want others to see.

Your life may be in disarray, but remember that’s ok, nobody cares anyway! You’re an actor, dry up those tears and get back on stage, the show must go on, you can address your own personal problems another day.

Fix your hair. no Afros please! But don’t forget to fake laugh when your coworker asks “is that a weave?” Be professional, we have the white man to appease. Keep your small talk to a minimum, nobody likes a loud mouth black woman, but also be friendly so won’t be seen as rude and stuck up.

Don’t have children with more than one man because then you're just a baby mama with baby mama drama and that's just anotha unnecessary storyline added to your movie.

It’s not like black women have influenced the trajectory of American history. Who cares about Harriet Tubman - what did she achieve? an American abolitionist, the melanated people she freed

A Black Woman.

And who cares about Miss Ida B wells and Nannie Helen Burroughs, important suffragists.

Black women.

And what about Daisy Bates or Rosa Parks, or Coretta Scott King, or Angela Davis - they were only civil rights leaders

But they were also black women

Michelle Obama - black woman
Kamala Harris - black woman
Maya Angelou - black woman
Alicia Garza - black woman
My mother - Black woman
My grandmother - black woman
(pause) Me - (kinda stutter and whisper) black. woman.

Like I said, black women are great actors. The scripts have always been written and carried on their backs. It’s time to take back the history that has been ignored for too long. Give them their credit, they are simply the best. You wanna prove it, put them to the test, and see won’t they excel in every way possible.

Ain't I...
The Greatest Actors

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