In the tradition of Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman, best-selling author Pearl Cleage brings us an inspiring poem for all women, destined to become a classic.
Cleage refers to We Speak Your Names as a "celebration" which is part of an oral tradition that encompasses the entire history of the African-American experience. This tradition, she says, grew out of an understanding that "some things must be spoken out loud to get where the magic is". What results is a praise poem which acknowledges the legacy of those who have gone before, and a realization, "with a knowing deeper than the flow of human blood in human veins, that we are part of something better, truer, deeper".
"The most powerful thing we ever experienced. We were in tears from the deeply rooted, primal emotion connecting one generation with the next." (Oprah Winfrey, on the live reading of this poem at her Legends Ball)
"[Cleage] sends the message that unless you have self-knowledge others can make you become what they desire you to be. She also reminds us that a person without a past is a person without an identity." (Library Journal)