From the Queen of Sheba to MLK: Black Beauty

From Davis’s work, the beginning paragraphs about King Solomon and his queen were very empowering to read. As a young, black woman in this generation, embracing my culture and roots is what drives me to succeed. It’s like we live in a caste system according to race, in my opinion, and breaking the barriers is what I aspire to do more than anything. Accordingly, reading a work that begins with emphasizing the glory and beauty of a black queen was reassuring. We, black people, are not exposed to the historical Black queens. We don’t see the excellence we derived from on a normal basis.

The quote, “a beautiful woman with black skin,” speaks to my soul. Literally, it will probably be my next Instagram caption. From my experience throughout life, when it comes to beauty, black women are overshadowed. We are lesser just because of our skin and other dominant physical features, such as wider noses, coiled hair, fuller lips, curvier figures, etc. To know that throughout history, black beauty has been expressed makes me overjoyed. Additionally, the quote, “I am black and beautiful,” made me think of a speech by Martin Luther King Jr, that was about black people signing their own Emancipation Proclamation. (attached video) In the speech, he speaks about how black is synonymous with being ugly or lesser while white is associated with more positive, attractive thoughts. He states, with strong passion, “Yes! I’m black, and I’m proud of it; I’m black, and I’m beautiful.” I wonder if he was exposed to the story of the queen of Sheba. Lastly, the quote, “since the queen of Sheba is black, so must the church be black and beautiful,” is my favorite of all. It’s my favorite because it encourages and reinforces black beauty. I think of it in a role model context and how it positively affected the youth. I feel that youth, especially now, need to be reminded that they are beautiful.


The following quotes are from MLK’s speech:

“I come here tonight to plead with you: Believe in yourself, and believe that you’re somebody!

“I said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. Not even an Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. Nor can a Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill do this for us.

“If the negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own Emancipation Proclamation.

“Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage. As somebody said earlier tonight, we don’t have anything to be ashamed of.

“Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word ‘black.’ It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word ‘white,’ it’s always something pure and high and clean. But I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, ‘Yes, I’m black, I’m proud of it! I’m black and beautiful!’”

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