CSM Michelle Jones, first female command sergeant major of US Army Reserve (PD as work product of federal govt.)

An exceptional woman who once worked for me as a paralegal, had been in the Army before that.  There is an Army saying that goes:  It rains in the Army, but not on the Army.  That means soldiers power through, whatever the obstacle.  They move so fast, the raindrops don’t even touch them.

That fit my friend to a tee.  Any organization would have been lucky to have her.

My friend shared with me that she had been the only black woman (often the first and only woman) in all the classes or programs she ever attended.  She refused to declare her race on any form determining eligibility for affirmative action.  Yet the assumption was always made that she could not have qualified on merit alone.

I worked for years in inner city Philadelphia, and still love the children I came to know there.  Most of those children are black.  All are still living in poverty.  But children are not born with the knowledge they are supposed to be inferior.  They have to be taught that.

The “firsts” matter.  The comedian Kevin Hart, the actor Will Smith, the singer Patti LaBelle, the songwriter Teddy Pendergrass and hundreds of thousands of other successful people were all from Philadelphia.

But children are not born knowing that either.  They don’t know that Thurgood Marshall served brilliantly on the Supreme Court or that Shirley Chisholm was a vocal advocate in Congress.  They have to be taught that, because all they see around them are shattered dreams.

I question why women of whatever color are still required to expend superhuman effort, to make any small headway.  I question the glacial pace of change.  I’d like to live long enough to see it.  Whether I’m here or not, I’d like the children I love to experience it.

This post was inspired by one titled “Primary Colours” by Marie Williams. 

You can find it on Marie’s website Come Fly With Me at .



Filed under Poverty, racism

15 responses to “Firsts

  1. Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote

    Yes yes yes and AMEN.

  2. Wow, this is one tough woman! So are you, my friend.

  3. Reblogged this on ComeFlywithme and commented:
    Thank you, Anna for mentioning me in your absolutely brilliant post. Going through what could ultimately be a serious life-challenge at this time, your friendship and support are a source of immense comfort to me. Love, Marie

  4. I echo Bill Sweeney’s comment. Anna, you are amazing!!!

  5. The people who fight in battles often know nothing about its origin. Such is the mystery of of the world we find ourselves in. We are born and then, we think we are just here to be. But no, we are here to fight, for ourselves, and for the helpless. The battles in our heads and the battles that are in the battle zones/fields are lost unless we try. It never rains on the army. Hence it must never rain on us. We must fight the good fight as long as it is day. Injustice and inequality will never cease. As such, there is always work to do. We must not let it it rain on us. Life is a battle. Those who feel it, know it. We must use the tools bestowed on us whatever those might be. To Michelle Jones and all other pioneers and barrier breakers, kudos. We are grateful for the service of all our servicemen too. And to you Anna, thank you for another amazing and inspiring post. ❤️

  6. A strong woman and thank you for sharing the story and inspiring us

  7. “Children are not born with the knowledge they are supposed to be inferior. They have to be taught that…” Love that bit. Seen many examples. They are also taught that they have to beg the gate men of the limiting status quo to let them sit at the table rather than build their own furniture.

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