H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


"The Black Woman"

By Juneisha Burrowes
Major: International Business
Hometown: Trinidad and Tobago

I was born into an atmosphere of suffering and pain,
Wondering if it was right to leave the womb or was it in vain.
My mother’s loneliness was evident as my infant gaze met hers,
But simultaneously, I felt secured, protected and somewhat insured.
I was raised by an extremely strong, independent, black woman of no limitation,
Who trained me for battle in this world of racism, sexism and dehumanization.
It was as though she subconsciously knew what obstacles were in store for me,
And with this fear and awareness, proceeded – determined, to make me the best that I could be.
She got me involved in many activities and spent sleepless nights tutoring me,
For it seemed that somewhere – somewhere in the back of her mind she appreciated the fact that education was the key.
This icon fought and never accepted ‘no’ for an answer, not even for a minute,
And I know that by her action I have become a strong-willed, unflinching individual, confident that the sky is indeed the limit.
Self-sacrifice and a clear vision - two factors which at one point I did not understand,
Are the very ones which bring tears to my eyes, responsible for my ability to say that I can.
So now that I am finally crossing the threshold to adulthood and entering the gates of Howard University,
What lessons can you say have been successfully taught to me?
Make good use of my opportunities and learn from my mistakes,
For I am a black woman and I have what it takes!

©2001 Juneisha Burrowes

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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