Everyday the tongues of my other "sisters" would lash out against me
like the master's whip on our ancestors' backs. "Hey, Tom!" they'd call out.
I'd keep walking, my head hung in humiliation like our ancestors hung theirs when they were put back in their places.
While my other "sisters" skipped class, smoked, gossiped, and put on make-up in the bathroom, I sat in the classroom, my book and ears open like our ancestors who risked their lives and strained their eyes for a book that they shouldn't have had.
My other "sisters" made me ashamed that I was black like our ancestors who worked in the fields were made ashamed by those who worked in the master's house.
Today the tongues of my other "sisters" are silent when I walk by, my head held high like our ancestors when they were finally free.
Copyright 1983 Dolores Grider