Today is the official start of Black History Month so most of my posts over this next month will celebrate African American history while highlighting the role of black mothers in that history. Harriet, Mamie, Coretta, Rosa, and countless nameless, faceless mothers got us here. Many of these women didn’t make cotton gins or take a bullet nonetheless their contributions are just as important.
Black Activist Mothering
One of the most important women in our history was the “othermother“. I had an “othermother”. You probably did as well. She was the one looked out for the kids while they played on the street or the one who always had an extra plate for a hungry child. Othermothers provided informal childcare for free and acted as pressure valves for black mothers in the Diaspora.
But they were no ordinary caregivers. According to Patricia Hill, these women were super-mothers who doled out advice, food, and who later became activists because they knew firsthand the needs of the children in the community.
Over the next 28 days let’s keep these women in our thoughts.
I thank God everyday for the othermothers in my life (we should also honor them during Women’s History Month and on Mothers Day). Othermothers are the ones who take in your children and give them love as though they were her own.
I agree that “othermothers” need to be included in celebrations of black motherhood. This mothering tradition helped to make our community what it is today and this type of community or activist mothering deserves to be recognized for its contributions. I try to do my part by being trying to be an othermother to children in my life because I’ve benefited from having two amazing who stepped in to mother me when I most needed it.