“Black Mommas,” by Tanya Barnett

By Tanya Barnett • 

I lie awake at night.

Slowly dying on the inside.

I am a Black momma.

I am supposed to be strong.

I am afraid.

I am weak. 

I cannot breathe.

I feel the world’s hate.

I cannot protect my kids.

I call on the ancestors for protection.

Nothing new under the sun.

Black mommas did this centuries before.

Black mommas 



laid in filth on ships

worked plantations


birthed Black babies in fields

suckled white babies

cried at the foot of trees.

Black mommas

supposed to be strong



cannot breathe.

Called on the ancestors for protection.

They survived.

I will survive.

Tanya Barnett is a veteran and advocate, anti-racist Womanist, author, an adjunct professor, and a 2018 N.A.A.C.P. Hall of Famer. She has been featured on OWNTV, Essence Magazine, Huffington Post, The Today Show, Tom Joyner Morning Show, TEDx, Johns Hopkins University, NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, FBI, EPA, Good Morning Washington, Great Day Washington, etc. She’s a 2x triathlete and 2x marathoner, historical fiction lover, wife, mom and an energetic Glam-ma.