Black women are negotiating the different stages of menopause along with their ever evolving identifies, relationships, careers, responsibilities and societal tropes. This is a curated intergenerational exchange, a space for exploration, mentorship, intimacy and vulnerability around life, identity a… read more
Delores Sanky “Mama Dee” Eaton was born June 30, 1930 in Montgomery, Alabama. My mother, Mary Kinsey Mcconner Burney, Ibaiye, was born 16 days later on July 16th that same year in Pitt County, North Carolina. Though born under different circumstances and realities in the American south, their paths in life were oddly similar. If you know anything about Cancerian women, you know they are fiercely protective of their loved ones, nurturing, emotional, affectionate, funny, trustworthy and steadfast. Having been raised by two Cancers as a fire sign, you would think I would have had an adverse reaction to all that watery moon mutability. But tell me what child doesn’t want to feel that their parents, especially their mother, thinks that they are the most special being in the world while reminding you that you have to move the furniture when you vacuum or the house isn’t really clean?
What l also know about these two women is that they always rose above their circumstances and realities their entire lives to know more, to do better and to make a way for their children. They rose above Jim Crow south to attend college seeking to be educated to whole new worlds. They rose above gender norms and roles to boldly chart their own path in the world leaving the South behind for a period of time to experience the world on the west coast and in New York. They rose above conventional wisdom around marriage and partnership to autonomously choose their partners in love and life with their eyes wide open seeking radical love based on mutual trust, bold communication, respect and intelligence disregarding age or station. The same year my mother left this earthly realm, Delores "Mama Dee" Eaton became Che's teacher at her African-centered Sankofa Children's House. That year, she not only deprogrammed him from a terrible first year in public school, she pressed her loving wisdom and belief of his Black Genius into his 6 year old body. He is 27 years old now and that time, care and belief carried him all the way through to graduate from Howard University 4 years ago.
Mama Dee not only bears witness to the truth of our brilliance and trauma, she speaks on it with white heat precision and eloquence. She has used her Cancerian magic to massage the poison of white supremacy out of the skin and spirit of our children and she replaced it with fierce protection and audacious joy. She is nurturer. She is warrior. She is teacher. She is love. I give thanks to have her in our lives and I continue to follow her amazing blueprint for always believing in and loving our people she has shared with me all those years ago. I’m honored that she agreed to be my first Crone interview.
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