Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Alice Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans to a seamstress and a merchant marine. Though not a famous poetess, she was published and  was an interesting woman. She used her life to help make the world a better place.


Alice was raised in creole culture and lived and worked in New York, Washington, DC and Wilmington, Delaware. She first became a teacher, and a journalist. She was also a political activist for African Americans’ and women’s causes. She also kept one of the surviving diaries of a 19th century black women.



I had not thought of violets late,

The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet

In wistful April days, when lovers mate

And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.

The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,

And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.


So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,

I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;

The perfect loveliness that God has made,—

Wild violets sly and Heaven-mounting dreams.

And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream

Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.


—Alice Dunbar-Nelson







Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Rape Culture

Normally I would never post this video but our society is condoning rape. I pulled this off of YouTube and it sickened me. As I have said so many times, rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power and control. The young men in this video are the basest of human beings. This is important to me because it speaks to The War Against Women and it happened here in Ohio, the state where I now live.

The boys came from middle class families and had good prospects for their futures. Because of the choice they made, they aren’t even descent enough human beings to pick up garbage. This is not an isolated crime, it happens all the time in all countries around the world. A woman is not a piece of property to be used and discarded. It is clear in the video that no one taught this concept to these boys. Why? Perhaps the parents feel women are to be owned. Perhaps there  is violence in their homes.

In this particular rape case are fragments of the thinking behind all of the rape cases here and around the world that it is just sex and not a crime. A woman isn’t raped because she is a whore. She is raped because, even in 2013, women are considered property. The fact that the town tried to protect the boys who committed this horrible crime is enough to make me throw up. There isn’t privilege  for the high school jocks, or professional sports figures. They don’t get to rape a woman without paying a heavy price. If a guy rapes a woman, his future needs to be and will be gone.

Women who are raped don’t just get up and go on with life. They feel degraded and dirty. Some shower over and over because they no longer feel clean. This is something I can understand. Women who are raped are victims and don’t need to be revictimized by the media, friends, the judicial system, or their own families. They need support and counseling.

It is vital that their names are not put into the media. This case violated this concept that we worked on in the 70’s and 80’s. Previous sexual experience is also not allowed into court testimony. If a woman has had consensual sex and later is raped, the previous experience does not mean she can be raped without consequence. We keep going in circles about women’s issues.  In 2013, we are once again in a war against women.

Now, The National Organization for Women.stopping abuse and rape.

Now, The National Organization for Women.
stopping abuse and rape.

There is only one reason for rape and it is a crime.

There is only one reason for rape and it is a crime.

Rights for Women Won’t End on November sixth

November 6, 2012 does decide who will be our President for the next four years.What won’t be decided is what will happen to women and our rights and issues.

In 2013, we face another important battle in Congress. We need to have passed the legislation to make women legally equal. Think it is not necessary? That is what they said about women voting. Essentially, they said we weren’t smart enough to vote. Not only are we smart enough but we are smarter than some men. Nothing personal.

Women are still going to require access to contraception. The whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing is well past the point of no return. We have seven billion plus human beings on this planet and I believe we have fulfilled the directive.

Children around the world are dying from hunger, lack of clean water, violent revolutions, greed, bigotry, racism and in some countries if a girl is born she will be left to die. Baby girls die alone, unwanted and unloved. Even if their mothers want them, the husband will throw both of them out, if necessary.

Here in America, the most prosperous country in the world, our children aren’t golden. They often lack proper education, health care, food, love, encouragement. Why you ask? Because they weren’t born into rich families, but into poor and disadvantaged families. Most of society turns away from the reality of what these children lack and what they suffer.

Domestic Violence is gaining victims. The laws we worked so hard to get on the books, are often not being enforced. Young girls are not being told no one has the right to pinch, punch, slap, rape, hit, demean, kick, or call them names. We must tell these girls there is help and they should not be forced to live in violence. There are help lines and shelters where then will be helped and legally protected in every state and in almost every town.

Human trafficking is where many boys and girls end up. Sold into sexual slavery and facing decades of being objectified and beaten by any man who has the money to pay for their services. These kids live in hell on earth. Their innocent souls corrupted and ravaged by men who only care about themselves and what their money can buy them.

All people have the right to live authentically. No one should have to pretend to fit in. Everyone needs to be accepted for who they are. Parents, society and governments need to make this possible…

I have barely scratched the surface, but I will continue to address these issues as time goes on.

Woman’s Battles Continue

It is now 2012 and for women there is much work to do. The plight of women and girls is still filled with issues that are harmful to women and girls in our society. Many men still feel that they own a woman and therefore can control her actions, her thoughts, her body, her money.

Women today do have more choices than we did in the seventies and much more than when the suffragettes were working to get us the vote. We can wear pants now, we can go outside the home to work now if we choose. But many women’s paychecks are not their own. They still must turn over their hard earned money to their husband. In many marriages, there is not a partnership but a situation where the man has the last say, instead of Making joint decisions. We can own property these days but divorce laws that were written to protect wives and children are often being ignored or put aside.

Domestic Violence is worsening. Partly because it is no longer the ” Silent Scream” and therefore it is reported more often, but also young women don’t understand that they have the right to live without violence and fear. Couples who are dating are often tied together by violence and pain, not love and mutual respect.

Despite all of the work in the seventies and President Obama signing into law the equal pay act, we still make $ .77  for every dollar a man makes. It is 2012 and in the seventies, we earned $ .64 to every dollar a man made. So while we do equal work we are not given equal wages. Men have more value in American society.

While more girls and young women are receiving higher education, the thought still prevails that women go to school so they can find a husband. Women who decide not to marry or not to have children continue to still face discrimination.

Government still feels it can legislate what we do with our bodies. If the government thinks it can control our bodies, no wonder the men in our lives feel the same. The argument could be made that the men feel that they can control our bodies and Congress is still made up mostly of white men.

Society wants to prevent teen pregnancy by “just saying no.” and without the education that they need to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease. I am not speaking about encouraging teens to begin to experiment with sex but since they are human teens and hormones rage, situations happen and the results can be totally devastating to the teens and the next generation.

One of the sexist things which is happening in our country and others in the world is polygamy. Here, it is found mostly in fundamental Mormon sects. Not all Mormons practice polygamy, but it is a very demeaning lifestyle for women and children.

There has recently been a television show on The Learning Channel called “Sister Wives”. I read the 19th Wife which is a memoir of Brigham Young and his “sister wives.” I just finished, Favorite Wife:/Escape from Polygamy.
What these stories do is to give us a glimpse into a lifestyle which is demeaning to women and their children. So I have decided to do more research on the subject and its beginnings and how it attempts to hide itself now.

I am shocked to find that even though polygamy is against federal law written in the late 1800’s, it exists and whole communities are filled with “sister-wives, celestial wives, or plural wives and they are not arrested. Warren Jeffries is the most recent controversial case but there are thousand of women and children living in these horrible situations.

Let me give an image to you to begin our conversation on the subject. The practice of Polygamy supposedly began in our country with visions or revelations which Joseph Smith had from God. Brigham Young had similar revelations later on confirming that this is God’s idea of what marriage should be.

The revelations showed that for a Mormon man to reach heaven he needed more than one wife as each one was a jewel in his crown. If his crown was full upon death, thanks to many sister-wives, he could attain godhood and the wives got into heaven on their husbands coat-tails. Little girls were taught that this was the only way for them to reach heaven. Boys are raised to go out and find a Gentile girl,  marry her and bring her into the fold. These men hold total control over everyone of their wives and all of their children.

There are two colonies, Colinia LeBaron and Los Molinos which are active fundamental Mormon groups which practice polygamy today. There are hundreds of other sites around the country and in Mexico.

The Passing of an Icon

My heart is heavy as I heard of the passing of one of the great feminist leaders of our time. Adrienne Rich was a feminist and a poet. She authored the book ” Of Woman Born ” and many books of poetry.

Adrienne was born in 1929. In the 1960’s her poetry took a turn from the more traditional style to a radical feminist format. She wrote about how poetry can break isolation,she  reminded us of creating beauty where there is no beauty and  reminded us of our Sisterhood.

From a Survivor

The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men and women in those days
I don’t know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race
Lucky or unlucky, we didn’t know the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them
Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special
Your body is as vivid to me as it ever was;
even more since my feeling for it is clearer;
I know what it could do and could not do
it is no longer the body of a god or anything
with power over my life
Next year it would have been 20 years
and you are wastefully dead
who might have make the leap we talked,
too late, of making which I live now not as a leap
but a succession of brief, amazing
movements each one making possible the next.”

—–Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich described her poetry as political and as personal. One of her poems, “Power ” speaks of how women find it very difficult to grab onto and to raise up their talents and successes and dreams. In “Power.” she speaks of Marie Curie, the scientist.

“She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source
as her power.”
This is from one of her books of poetry called, “The Dream of a Common Language; Poems 1974-1977.

So I say goodbye to a heroine and icon and I will end with this excerpt from her poem “Translations.”

You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language

Certain words occur; enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she’s a woman of my time.”

Thank you for your contributions to the cause of women’s rights and RIP.

A Woman Can Speak

Unlearning To Not Speak
—Marge Piercy

Blizzards of paper
in slow motion
sift through her
In nightmares she suddenly recalls
a class she signed up for
but forgot to attend.
Now it is to late.
Now it is time for finals:
losers will be shot.
Phrases of men who lectured her
drift and rustle in piles:
Why don’t you speak up?
Why are you shouting?
You have the wrong answer,
wrong line, wrong face.
They tell her she is womb-man,
babymachine, mirror image, toy,
earth mother and penis-poor,
a dish of synthetic strawberry ice cream
rapidly melting.
She grunts to a halt.
She must learn again to speak
starting with I
Starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

My choice of photo and poem might seem to be confusing. While we women here in America are struggling today to retain the rights we already have, many women around the world are trying to emerge from lives of servitude, illiteracy and fear. They are our sisters and we must recognize all of the strength and courage it takes to make baby steps to speak.

They face acid in their faces, beatings, children taken away, being isolated in their homes and being an object a man owns. We must recognize how difficult their attempts are for them to make. We must look at them, different, yet our sisters and applaud them for each step and gesture which enables them to begin speaking.

There are many women here in America who were taught not to speak. They didn’t know what they were taking about, they needed to shut up and take care of the children, they needed to “stifle” like Edith Bunker. Thanks to books such as the Feminine Mystic by Betty Friedan, Ms magazine and the work of Gloria Steinem, we can speak…we can speak out and up. What we have to say as women is as valuable as anything a man has to say.

Here is to total equality for all the people, male and female, all colors, and all religions and forms of spirituality.