God’s Presence in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”

For my this month’s review, I will be writing my analysis on Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat”.   *I recently wrote this essay for Mrs. Lambert’s class so if Turnitin tries to check me, I am covered because I am simply repurposing.

© Carl Van Vechten


“Sweat” tells the story between an abusive relationship between a Floridian Black couple in the early 1900s. Delia and Sykes have something far from a ordinary happy marriage. Delia is a hardworking washwoman who believes deeply in Christianity. Sykes is jobless man, who openly commits unfaithfulness, and verbally and physically abuses Delia. Through it all Delia keeps her faith and prays against her husband. One day Sykes brings a snake home to place fear in Delia, however, it ended up attacking Sykes leaving him almost dead. 

From the very beginning, the Christianity religion presence excludes from the short story, “Sweat” written by Zora Neale Hurston. Sundays, gospels, scriptures, and prayer are only a few tools that help solidify the story’s overarching themes. Hurston’s complex and advanced use of symbolism communicates the hidden parallels between the biblical era and the short story’s period.
Delia’s character arch and her physically weak, yet faithfully strong essence symbolize the power of having blind faith in the Lord. She is a church-going woman and at the beginning of Sunday, Delia reveals that she has taken sacrament. “Ah aint for fuss t’night Sykes. Ah just come home from taking sacrament at the church house” (1023). When one performs sacrament, they repent from past sins and again are pure in the Lord’s eyes. Delia’s refusal to participate in Sykes miserable and abusive actions is to protect her purity. Hurston conveys Delia as weak compared to Sykes when the writer states, “Delia’s habitual meekness seemed to slip from her shoulders like a blown scarf. She was on her feet; her poor little body, her bare knuckly hands bravely defying the strapping hulk before her” (1023). Nevertheless, Delia defends herself against the antagonist not by physical abuse, yet through her strong blind faith.
For example, when Delia first stands up against Sykes, she gives her testimony. “Looks heah, Sykes, you done gone too fur. Ah been married to you fur fifteen years, and Ah been takin in washin’ fur fifteen years. Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, pray and sweat!” Another example of this blind faith is shown when Delia prays to the Lord that Sykes will get what he deserves. “Somehow before sleep came she find herself saying aloud: ‘Oh well, whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got to come under his belly. Sometime or ruther, Sykes, like everybody else, is gointer reap his sowing.’ After that she was able to build a spiritual works against her husband.” These prayers foreshadow Sykes fate when he is violently attacked by the snake, he ironically brought into the house to fear Delia.
Delia purity and strong faith represent the Lord’s presence in “Sweat”, on the other hand Sykes and the snake represents evil and the Devil’s presence in the story. Sykes believes in Christianity. He calls his wife a hypocrite because she works on Sundays. In Christianity, Sundays are the Sabbath, which means to rest. He claims that he told the Lord that her work will not be in his house. However, he uses Christianity to support his abusive actions towards Delia which is hypocritical. “Ah don’t keer if you never git through. Anyhow, Ah done promised Gawd and a couple of other men, Ah aint gointer have it in mah house. Don’t gimme no lip neither, else Ah’ll through ‘em out and put mah fist side yo’ head” (1023). Hurston solidifies the Devil’s presence in Sykes by incorporating his fascination with snakes. In the bible, snakes are seen as the serpent of the Devil. Delia wants the snake out the house because she is afraid but also because she believes that they are the devil. “Whut’s de mattah ol’ satan, you aint kickin’ up yo’ racket? She addressed the snake’s box” (1028).
Delia and Sykes’s relationship is abusive and Delia goes through treacherous events similar to biblical times. There are many examples of Christianity symbolism in “Sweat” and Hurston does an excellent job at connecting them to Delia and Sykes.

Not Even A Day to Exhale.

“Hey Besties, Derek Chauvin is going to jail!” A passing classmate said to me and a group of friends. In that moment a bright smile appeared across my face. It has almost been a year since the entire world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd.  On the night of May 25, 2020, the world became awake to what America truly is. I remember the way my tears soaked the pages of my journal as I tried to write away the trauma. I wished to feel as sense of release when I finished, however, that feeling was not there because it was not justice. When I heard about the verdict, it felt as if everything was worth it. As if this trial was the proof that change is not only coming but it is here. Me and millions of black people who has George Floyd in our hearts can finally exhale. 


Exhalation, unfortunately, did not last long. Not even a day later, Ma’Khia Bryant was fatally shot and killed by Columbus, Ohio police. 

 We were a given a moment to feel like we had won, until they took another one of us. We did not have even a day to exhale this madness.

The tired fight still continues…

I am sorry. 

George Floyd and his daughter.
Ma’Khia Bryant posing for a selfie.

August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Hello to those who actually decided they care enough to read about my opinions lol. This is another segment of “Stephyne tries to review art by prestigious writers which she one day hopes to be on their level” or as I like to call it,  my monthly literary review! 


If you have never heard of the name, August Wilson, be prepared to be amazed. August Wilson was a playwright who captured the joy and struggles of the African American experience through his art. According to the Huntington Theatre, ” The impact of Wilson’s work has made a lasting mark on American theatre, and opened doors to conversations about the black experience in the United States. Wilson was attracted to the theatre and its potential to reach audiences, no matter the class or race.” Mr. Wilson has many accolades including a Tony award for his play Fences and and two Pulitzer Prizes.  

August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand |August Wilson biography and  timeline | American Masters | PBS

The play I will be reviewing is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Ma Rainey was a influential blues singer who is known as the Mother of Blues. Her sound is soulfully, strong, painfully, yet filled with joy.Ma Rainey - Wikipedia














Mr. Wilson play is a fictional story that surrounds Ma Rainey and her band. The setting is placed in the recording session of her hit song, “Black Bottom”. 


I watched the screen adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix. The film starred talented and well known stars such as Viola Davis,  Chadwick Bozeman, Gylnn Turman, and Coloman Domingo. The movie was filled with black comedy, black joy, black talent, black dreams, and finally black pain. 

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert

I inspire to write about the black experience vulnerable as August Wilson did. He is the an example of a true artist capturing the art of human interaction. I recommend his plays and movies to anyone. Not only those apart of the black diaspora even though we will identify with it more. I also recommend this to any young writer who is in desperate need of motivation to create truth. August Wilson is the perfect writer and I can only hope I walk through the doors he has opened for any black playwright.

How Nikki Giovanni’s “Love Poems” made me want to love

Nikki Giovanni needs no introduction from me I am sure. To say she is only a poet will be doing her an injustice. To quote a recent article from New York Times, “Giovanni emerged as a writer in the late 1960s during the Black Arts Movement, alongside her fellow poets Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez. In one of Giovanni’s early poems, “Reflections on April 4, 1968,” marking the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, she wrote: “What can I, a poor Black woman, do to destroy america? This / is a question, with appropriate variations, being asked in every / Black heart.” Nikki Giovanni, Finding the Song in the Darkest Days

Renée Watson on Twitter: "A thread to celebrate Nikki Giovanni's birthday.  I grew up on Nikki's poetry. Her poems felt like love letters from a big  sister who lived far away and

I recently read her poetry book, Love Poems and I can honestly say I LOVED IT. From the very first poem, “What It is” I was captured through her words and technique. Every stanza and line break was placed purposefully.  My favorite poem will have to be “Balances”. 


In life
one is always

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)

3 grains of salt
to one ounce truth

our sweet black essence
or the funky honkies down the street

and lately i’ve begun wondering
if you’re trying to tell me something

we used to talk all night
and do things alone together

and i’ve begun

(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you

 After reading this poem I was filled with so much understanding about myself and the way I love. The ending lines, “and i’ve begun /(as a reaction to a feeling”)/ to balance/ the pleasure of loneliness/ against the pain/ of loving you.” Hit me so hard because I am learning the lesson of self- worth and temporary affection. I know my worth and I am very selfish with who I dedicate my energy towards. On the other hand, I am a Leo and I shamefully love romantic attention lol.  Those ending lines made feel like I will get through this phase in my life and  I will love again. The power Nikki Giovanni holds in her words!

In Love Poems, Giovanni explores the connection between all types of love not just romantically.  My favorite platonic love poem is “A Poem of Friendship”

We are not lovers 
because of the love 
we make 
but the love 
we have 

We are not friends 
because of the laughs 
we spend 
but the tears 
we save

I don’t want to be near you 
for the thoughts we share 
but the words we never have 
to speak

I will never miss you 
because of what we do 
but what we are 

Nikki Giovanni writes how she speaks: softly yet powerful. I deeply enjoyed the experience reading Love Poems. It was the delight at the ending of my day. It truly made me look forward to new loves in my life, platonically and romantically. As a new generation writer, I am influenced by Nikki Giovanni’s  writing style. I could only wish I can reach a bit of the impact she has on society.

Amazon.com: Love Poems (9780688149895): Giovanni, Nikki: Books

Stephyne’s Spiritual Journey: Reviewing The Law of Pure Potentiality

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your  Dreams: Deepak Chopra: 9788174460578: Amazon.com: Books

About two months ago, I was on a hunt for a spiritual awakening! So, obviously I took to the social media to hunt for the best books that would teach me. I found a variety of books such as The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Untethered Soul by Michael A.  Singer. However, the book that caught my interest the most was The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. 


This book is  described as, “a practical guide to the fulfillment of your dreams.” I can tell you right now it is such more! Each chapter is a law that you need in order to live a life of success. However, to me they are more like golden keys that unlocks the door of growth. Even though the book only has seven chapters it is filled with so much knowledgeable information. So, instead of reviewing the entire book, every month I will review a new chapter and how I am applying it to my life. 

The first chapter is titled, The law of pure potentiality. Chopra explains, very thoroughly I may add, how humans are pure consciousness meaning we basically have endless possibilities. He dives into the Self which is our own spirit and our own experience. This is a key I learned: Our Self is absent of ego. Ego is overall the bad side of you. You know the one that is obsessed with attention and other people’s approval. We will never reach success if our ego consumes our soul.  Here are some quotes that I highlighted in this chapter: 

“When you discover your essential nature and know who you really are, in that knowing itself is the ability to fulfill any dream you have, because you are the eternal possibility, the immeasurable potential of all that was, is, and will be.”

“In object-referral we are always influenced by objects outside the Self, which include situations, circumstances, people, and things. In object-referral we are constantly seeking the approval of others. Our thinking and our behaviour are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based.” 

This quote stuck with me deeply because I understood how pointless it is to be bothered by things that have nothing to do with me. Also, I realized I need to stop trying to control things. That is unnecessary stress upon my life. Control is just an illusion, it does not exist. 

“When we experience the power of the Self, there is an absence of fear, there is no compulsion to control, and no struggle for approval or external power.” 

“In self-referral, you experience your true being, which is unfearful of any challenge, has respect for all people, and feels beneath no one. Self-power is therefore true power.” 

This is so important to learn and to study! Self-power is the true power and ego-power is temporary. Money, a high status, rewards, and fame is all temporary. Why do strive to have those things when they are all disposable?

“Wherever you go in the midst of movement and activity, carry your stillness within you. Then the chaotic movement around you will never overshadow your access to the reservoir of creativity, the field of pure potentiality.” 

Carrying my stillness with me is something I have to practice to master. I often let my surroundings influence me when it becomes too much. But I feel like if I can carry my peace with me and let that influence me instead my life would be so much calmer. 

Each chapter has steps you could do in life to apply the seven laws of success. For this chapter it’s meditating twice a day. Sit in silence and observe the nature of living. Lastly, practicing non-judgement. “I will begin my day with the statement, ‘Today, I shall judge nothing that occurs.'”

To be honest I try to meditate at least once a week. I believe if I made time to meditate twice a day I will have a more peaceful life. However, I get distracted easily because there is not a peaceful place I can meditate at on campus. There I go again making unnecessary excuses. You make time for what you want! 

I may be slacking with meditation but I do sit in silence at least once a day. I recommend this to everyone. You experience things you would normal miss about nature. I do not have to always listen to music in fact I work better with no distractions. Mr. Chopra knew what he was writing when he suggested this step! 

Stating I will not judge anyone in the morning is a reminder that I am not perfect and in no place to judge anyone. It is very humbling experience to check myself before others. My friends always joke when we catch ourselves talking too much mess we say, “You in her business… don’t do that?” To me that is the same thing as reminding myself not to judge lol. 

This is a picture that I feel correlates the best to the law of pure potentiality. To me the woman in the bubble is in her own world which represents self-referral. The hand also represents self-power.  

My own world - David Lingabee Songs & Songwriting - David Lingabee Songs &  Songwriting

The next chapter is titled the law of giving. Tune in next month for an update! 

Margaret Atwood’s Warning to the Modern World

It is an understatement to say The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood, left an impacting mark on me after I finished reading it. The novel is embedded with parallels, symbolism, and a dire underlying message to the readers. 

Margaret Atwood on thrillers, classics, and free speech - The Boston Globe
Margaret Atwood

When I finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale, I connected symbolism and parallels to racism. First, the execution of defiant ones in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Wall is a parallel to the lynching that African Americans had to endure during times of inequality. In the novel, it is legal to execute anyone who rebels. Afterwards, the lifeless bodies are hung and put on display at The Wall, to serve as a reminder to the citizens of the repercussions of disobedience.

“…that we should remember to do what we are told and not get in trouble, because if we do, we will be rightfully punished.”

(Atwood, 284)

This is parallel to times when African Americans were lynched for fighting for their rights and/or freedom. Similar to the novel’s The Wall, the murdered bodies of African Americans were often left exposed to the public. Mainly because white supremacists had no respect for African Americans and wanted to instill fear into anyone who desired freedom and justice.  

 In addition to this parallel, racism was a large factor that led the theocratic Republic of Gilead to succeed. Before Gilead was overthrown, the rate of Caucasian births was rapidly decreasing whereas other races’ birthrates increased. The cause for the decrease of births was because of the escalating rates of pollution and sexually transmitted diseases, which I may add is another parallel to the modern world. Caucasian’s fear of becoming extinct leads many to follow and believe the policies of Gilead.

“Its racist policies, for instance, were firmly rooted in the pre-Gilead period, and racist fears provided some of the emotional fuel that allowed the Gilead takeover to succeed as well as it did.”

(Atwood, 305)

This proves that racism and prejudice are apparent in the Republic of Gilead, however, the parallels do not end there. 

 Women in The Handmaid’s Tale have no rights and are being forced to do activities against their will. In this society, rebellion is bound to transpire, and so came about Mayday. Mayday is the code name given the underground resistance network. Offred, the narrator, mentions Mayday frequently in the story as an escape route. Mayday is a parallel to the infamous underground railroad. The underground railroad was a network of protected routes and safe houses that slaves used to achieve freedom. The Underground Railroad was assistance by abolitionists and those who disagreed with slavery. Likewise, to The Handmaid’s tale, people disagree with the Republic of Gilead’s laws, and they help function Mayday. For instance, Nick is a part of Mayday and helps Offred escape.

“…I open my mouth to say it, but he [Nick] comes over, close to me, whispers. ‘It’s all right. It’s Mayday. Go with them.’’

(Atwood, 293) 
Virtual Tuesday Night Book Club: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale |  Monmouth University

 After I finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale and the historical notes, I figured all my questions would have been answered. On the contrary, I was left curious and filled with queries more than ever before. I ponder on what happened to the narrator Offred? Was she sent to the Colonies, or did Nick rescue her? Did Offred and her family ever reunite? Finally, the question that haunted me the most: what was Margaret Atwood’s purpose for writing this novel? How did she want the readers to feel after they finished reading it? What was her message to the American society? However, I came upon the realization that my state of uncertainty was Margaret Atwood’s purpose when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood wants the reader to be left with uncertainty because she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale to serve as a warning. A warning to the American society about how history repeats itself if change does not take place. All the laws and policies that the Republic Gilead had were all once created and enforced by a real country.

In the historical notes the speaker, Professor Peixoto, says, “As I have said elsewhere, there was little that was truly original with or indigenous to Gilead; its genius was synthesis.”

(Atwood, 307)

The Republic of Gilead’s government is simply a combination of past, nevertheless, real policies from governments around the world. This supports my claim that Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale to serve as a warning because in the novel history repeats itself. The evidence is shown with symbolism and parallels in The Handmaid’s Tale. For instance, the apparent symbolism to racism and the parallels to the Underground Railroad and increasing levels of pollution. 

It is translucent that Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale with an embedded underlying message. However, as a reader and a citizen of twenty-first-century America, I hope that we take her warning effectively by making a change in the world.  

Goodbye To Junior Year Me

This is such a bittersweet moment, the last blog of junior year. I cannot believe that it is already here. Look how times flies by when you are enjoying yourself! I do not know where to start; I titled this blog “Goodbye to Junior Year Me” because every year of high school I developed into a better version of me. Each year I learned something new about myself, and I can say that my junior year has been the most informative. So, this blog post is dedicated to the young woman I became this year, and goodbye to the obstacles I overcame.

I do not know about you guys, but I feel like every year of high school I look different. So I want to take this moment to observe the changes I made physically from the beginning of the school year to the end.

Beginning of the year              

End of the year                           

Okay so the change is not major but my face is skinnier. My hair may look like it hasn’t changed, but trust me my hair went through IT this year. I almost lost my edges, my hair started to break off, and my dye completely grew out. I know what you may be thinking, “Steph, I thought this was the year for growth sis!” I thought so too sis, but girl school hit the stage and my patience, along with my hair, left. I mean there even was a period when I wanted to go bald, I was stressed out. My split ends got so bad, I had to give myself a cute little trim. That is what I’m rocking right now. Remember queens, HEALTH OVER LENGTH!

Next, I want to evaluate is my music taste. Now my music taste has evolved this junior year. I believe I have every genre of music on my playlist (even country, do not clown me lol). This school year has been the year of great music! I was introduced to artists like Megan THEE Stallion, Lucky Daye, and Ibrahim Ferrer to name a few. On top of that my favorite artist release new albums that I love like Brent Fayiaz, Steve Lacy, WILLOW, Kali Uchis, and many more. I do believe 2020 is the year of music. Here is a playlist that I have been making since the year started if you are interested in. All of the songs were not made in 2020, however, this is the songs I have discovered.

Now, I want to evaluate the people I surround myself with. Some people I came into this school year with I don’t even speak to anymore. That is not a bad thing though. I am a strong believer that people come into your life to teach you a lesson. Every person who I had an encounter with taught me a lesson about myself, and I am forever grateful for that so thank you. Also, for the ones who are still in my life, I hope that we continue to grow our connection and may it last forever. But if it doesn’t that is okay, too. I still will love you. We have to normalize ending friendships on good terms. Not everyone is meant to last forever, and just because we aren’t close anymore doesn’t mean we have beef. It’s forever all love here.

Finally, the last thing I want to evaluate is my mindset. I have learned some valuable lessons this year, and with every lesson, I became smarter and stronger. I had to overcome obstacles this school year but I learned not to complain or even stress over them. Because I know that the man above has me, and all I can do is put my trust in him. So, I have let go trying to control everything in my life. Everything will play out as it should. I honestly can say I am proud of myself for my growth. I cannot wait to see the person I become my senior year of high school. So with that been said, goodbye junior year Stephyne, hello senior year Stephyne!




but you better stay at home, we see you.

Also for those who are protesting, what is your point really?

P.S. I got the job! I start tomorrow! AHH! Than you, Callie, for wishing me luck. Love you!

What do I do now?

The school has been officially canceled for the 2019-2020 school year and I honestly do not know how to feel. I mean a part of me is happy that I have more summertime, but half of me is upset because I did not get the chance to finish my junior year. I mean there are so many events and ideas I had planned yet now it feels impossible. However, nothing is truly impossible. This is another situation where I have to put the mind of matter. I have to stop stressing about things I cannot control. What is meant to be will happen! But I can’t help to wonder, what am I going to do now?

Throughout quarantine, I have been focusing on college and scholarships. I mean I have made a whole binder named, “Road to College” lol. I guess you can say that I am excited because I am. College is something I fantasize about my whole life! Ever since I was a little girl I knew I was going to New York University. Fast forward almost ten years later plans have changed and I have now set my heart on Howard University. Picking the right college is important to me, and I don’t want to make a decision that I will regret. However, it seems like since Corona has come everything has changed. I probably won’t get the chance to step onto Howard’s campus. But virtual college tours have been helpful like the Chicago HBCU Alumni Alliance. The organization plan a virtual tour with over ten historically black colleges and universities and that was extremely helpful to me. They are hosting a part 2 here is the information: 

HBCU College Tour PT 2 (1).jpg


The next thing that has been on my mind is getting a job. Yes, the time has come for me to start working for my own money. I mean I did babysit last year but I don’t think that is for me. So, I have my first job interview on Thursday! Surprisingly, I am excited I believe one of the reasons why I was opposed to getting a job was fear. But I have to get over that fear only holds me back. Now that school is out, and I’m almost done with my school work; I can focus on me and my development as a person.

One thing I learned about myself during this pandemic, I am not the best person I can be. I’m disappointed in that because I thought that I was solid, but now I realize that I need to do some self-evaluation. I want to officially start my spiritual journey and grow a stronger connection with God. One thing my grandma always told me is, “The devil is working.” I know he is working hard during this time to try to break me, but I WILL NOT LET HIM! As long as I have my connection with God and my family I can achieve anything.

When I began this blog post I felt truly confused about what should I do. However, now I know. See that is why I love writing, I learn something new every time! Also, thank you so much for the nice comments on How Do Mississippians Feel about Confederate Heritage Month? It means a lot to me to have positive support!

Staying Positive

During quarantine, your mind can wander to dark places. I know because I have found myself there countless times. The feeling of not caring about anything. The feeling of insecurity. The feeling of sadness and feeling like you are losing your mind. It is easy to fall into these despondent phases, but I just want you all to stay strong and positive.

People often say, “It’s better said than done,” but with staying on a positive mindset it takes speaking it into existence and action. Set goals for yourself whether they be long term or short. It could literally be going on a walk every day. Repeat to yourself in the mirror if you have to, “I will take a walk every day.” Once you say it out loud it’s spoken in the universe. Then put it into action. Hype yourself up to go on that walk. I know how easy it is to be lazy. But why would you spend your days doing nothing productive? It is a blessing to wake up every day and you should take it for granted. If it’s one thing I learned from living is that to never take anything for granted because it can be taken away from at any moment. So, live every day doing something you love.

Recently, I have been taking this time to do things that I enjoy. Instead of focusing all my energy into my school work as I did before this pandemic. I have been writing, researching, photographing, and even drawing. I have just been trying to find myself and who I am as a creative. Ironically, I feel like a lost that side of me this school year. I was focused on getting straight A’s and comparing myself to others that I completely forgot to take care of myself and, as a consequence, I spiraled emotionally. I let what others had to say about me affect me and became anxious about the smallest things.

Allowing other people’s opinions to affect me was my biggest mistake. Growing up, I have always been picked on. If it wasn’t because of my skin color, it was because I was tall. If it wasn’t because I was tall, it was because of my big eyes. If it wasn’t because of my big eyes, it was because of acne.

The moral of the story is it was always something, and I learned to become immune to what others had to say. However, when I made a change in my life and encountered different people, they would aim at a different flaw.

My speech impediment. When people started to pick on me because of the way I spoke, I started to look down on myself. I never wanted to speak in public. I even became self- conscious when I spoke among people. It got to a point where I hated myself because it was something I couldn’t control. I also developed a fear of speaking. Then my grandmother reminded me that I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.

So, I forced myself to get outside my comfort zone. To speak in front of crowds of people. I was only holding myself back  by keeping my mouth shut. Never let someone take your voice away. So I accepted my speech impediment and started to work on myself because that is the only person who was going to help me. When I did that, I started to become more comfortable with speaking out loud and I regained the confidence I had once again. Thankfully, I realize that I was allowing those people to win if I thought negative things about the way I talked. Those people who said negative things have insecurities within themselves that they have to heal. They feed off of hurting others. So, I no longer allow them or anyone else makes me feel bad about myself because I know who I am and my flaws.

It is important to accept all parts of you and work on the parts they need healing. I am not perfect and I still have parts of myself that I need to heal. But I choose to accept that and remain positive about it. Because with a positive mindset you can achieve anything.

Here are a couple of  Ted Talks that I’ve watched recently. Maybe they can help you the way they helped me!


How Do Mississippians Feel About Confederate Heritage Month?

At the beginning of April 2020, Mississippians were given a surprise. The first-year governor of the state of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, signed a proclamation that declared April the month of Confederate Heritage.

Tate Reeves’ Confederate Heritage Month Proclamation 2020

However, Reeves is not the first governor to sign the proclamation. Former governors of Mississippi such as Phil Bryant signed their versions of the proclamation in past years. One thing the proclamations have in common (besides declaring the month of April for the reminder of confederate history) is that they were all signed discreetly. For instance, Tate Reeves declared his proclamation during the COVID-19 pandemic and along with issuing the statewide shelter-in-place executive order.

As can be expected, when the public heard of this action they took to social media to voice their opinions. The majority disagreed with the proclamation and decided that the Confederate Heritage Month has racial prejudice propositions. I wanted to hear more of Mississippians’ opinions, so I composed a survey on April 9-10, with the hopes of learning. The survey collected in a total of 183 responses from citizens of Mississippi from those who reside in over 40 counties.

A question on the survey asked, “Do you believe that the Confederate flag represents racism and the enslavement of African-Americans? Or do you believe that it serves to honor the Confederate dead?”  

The research showed that 80% of Mississippians believed that the Confederate flag represents racism and/or the enslavement of African-Americans. On the other hand, 10% of Mississippians believed that the Confederate flag serves to honor and remember those who lost their lives in the Civil War. One anonymous respondent expressed their opinion further by saying: 

“I do believe that the Confederate flag represents slavery and racism because the Confederate States and Union state got into a civil war. The main purpose of the Civil War was fought to keep African-American people as slaves and to keep slavery legal. I do understand that some people’s family members have died in that war and they have a right to honor them but that doesn’t mean that everyone else has to as well. We have to acknowledge that some people’s family members during that time were slaves and that they were just as affected by this as you are. Some people will have to come to the sad reality that their grandfather fought to keep other people’s grandfathers as their slaves. I would also say that it is mostly understood that the Confederation was NOT a good thing. Yes, it is history and is not pretty but it is not good either. We don’t have a KKK appreciation day or a Lynching celebration week, because it is understood that those things were not right and we’re wrong. So, to have a Confederate Heritage month based around how some people’s past relatives fought to keep slavery would be massively inappropriate. It is much more effective to have people honor their past by themselves because once it comes into the limelight, other people’s past has to be included too.”

Another question in the survey asked, “Do you believe that it was necessary to name April the Confederate Heritage Month?”

 Research showed that 94.2% of people believe that it was not necessary to name April as the Confederate Heritage Month. An underwhelming 5.8% believes that it was necessary.

The following question asked the respondents, “As a state do you feel like this proclamation prevails or fails Mississippi?”

 77% of Mississippians feel like Confederate Heritage Month fails Mississippi and that it will refrain us from becoming a better state. 6.6% of Mississippians feel as if this prevails Mississippi and that it will better us for the future. Furthermore, 16.4% of Mississippians simply have no opinion on the matter. Another respondent voices their opinion further by stating: 

“I believe to learn from the past, you must study all aspects of the past without bias. This is hard to do if you are predisposed to think in one way or the other. When you see the past as preordained events, you can view the world as it is. This is my method, and it allows me to view life as created by God who ordains all things and all things work together for His glory. He allows bad things to happen for His glory and praise. To understand this, you must seek God, be convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit, and seek His forgiveness and a right relationship with Him. Until this happens, we will continue to feud and fight over what we think is right. God’s way is the only right way. Studying God’s word allows us to see each other the way God sees us—as sinners who needed a savior, as humans created the same way. It saddens me to know this society will continue to bicker because we all want to go our way without God, and some those who profess Christ won’t study God’s word to find peace with fellow humans or their Creator.” 

The last question on the survey asked the respondents, “If you had the ability to eradicate the Confederate Heritage month, would you?”

89.2% of Mississippians chose yes, they would eradicate the Confederate Heritage Month. Diversely, 10.8 % of Mississippians chose no, they would keep the Confederate Heritage Month.

When I evaluated the responses from the survey I found myself surprised by some of the answers received. An interesting trend in the responses was, 50% of the people who believe that the confederate flag serves to honor the dead are under the age of 18. It’s not only the older generations that believe in these prejudiced traditions, it’s also youth in the state. That is concerning because when the youth believes such things, it’s only going to continue the pattern of hate and racism in Mississippi.

As a generation and a community, we need to do better when it comes to our knowledge of politics. We shouldn’t use the excuse of “I’m young, it doesn’t concern me”, because it does. When it’s our generation’s time to hold those political positions, the actions of those in office now ultimately falls on us. However, I don’t solely blame the Mississippi youth for having these abstracted mindsets. Part of the blame should be placed on our parents and our educators. I know personally, from growing up in the Mississippi Education system, the way slavery and the Civil War is taught in classes does not exceed the levels of mediocre. How could the Mississippi youth know about the detriment conditions of slavery, and the true reasons why the Civil War was fought; when it’s not taught to them properly? When individuals know better, they do better.

Also, I believe when everyone is better educated we, as Mississippians, will unite, and stand against racist, futile proclamations that shouldn’t exist in 2020 (and that only exists to please Caucasian, confederate organizations a.k.a. The Sons of Confederate Soldiers) such as the Confederate Heritage Month.