Black Madonna: Symbol of the African American Mother

Black Madonna: Symbol of the African American Mother

Mothers and fools do not belong together. The emotional journey of motherhood begins with a sacrifice that is both natural and nearly beyond comprehension. In the city of Barcelona, Spain, a train travels to a monastery, which is home to the Black Madonna. Along with scores of others — men, women, children and the infirm — I made the trek to see the shrine of the Moor Madonna with her child in her arms in the hopes of putting my hands on her for comfort and healing and to see this representation of the Holy Mother as an African queen.

It is in this place that believers are not distracted by murmurs regarding the color of the Redeemer. Here, no one is preoccupied with the ethnicity of the mother of humanity. It is in her miracles and prayers where their lives and the truth of things unseen exist. I prayed tearfully, as I touched the Madonna, in hopes that the hip-hop generation would consider the nature of motherhood and treat it with reverence and respect.

Apparently, the mute button of understanding and spirituality had been pressed in the spirits of young brothers and sisters who have for the past two decades referenced mothers with many terms, including, trick, b—-, w—-, and a cascade of other derogatory terms. These degrading vulgarities falling from a cursed tongue are the scourge of young women and deprives them of the deserved recognition for being a mother, a sister an aunt and a beloved woman.
It would be an atrocity worthy of stoning to introduce a rap song, here in the presence of the Black Madonna. Who would want her to hear the hate and know the disdain? She is a figure of hope and nurturing, virtue and devotion.

I worry that women have not united in their opposition to the attacks on their gender and their status. I worry that women are becoming complacent and desensitized to obscenity. Selling babies for crack and their souls for a purse is evidence of the social decay that is being perpetrated against young women, rendering them almost irredeemable.
I worry that African American queens and ladies are not held in esteem, but are instead attacked and their characters assailed by Rush Limbaugh types.

Unfortunately, masses of Americans are not upset about the deplorable state of affairs.
And I worry that young women are wasting time with the type of young men that they will never introduce to their parents and are accepting presents from men with deceptive agendas. Young mothers are bearing children without the promise of an expected quality of life or the possibility that their children might change the world. But this Black Madonna in Barcelona holds the world-changer in her arms.

On Mother’s Day, we recognize the mothers who have journeyed with their children, carried their burdens and exercised tolerance in the wake of turbulent waters. Those who have shouldered hardships, mistreatment and desertion remain, at their core, mothers. If you love your mother, you can’t disrespect another, regardless of her relationship to you. You can’t inflict pain and ignore her tears. You can’t dismiss her, demean her, cast her aside or relegate her to some debased culture.
I’m glad I made that spiritual journey to see the Black Madonna in Barcelona, and I pray that I continue to evolve and change. We need miracles now, and they can be found in motherhood and the love of a mother. They are creatures of God and the standard-bearers of a nation. They are mothers. –munson steed

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