Fear Not the Fall/Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light by Billie Jean Young
In three dozen poems and a two-act play, MacArthur Fellow Billie Jean Young honors the tradition of struggle, resistance, and survival common to generations of women descended from African slaves. The tradition she dramatizes in her acclaimed portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer (here for the first time in book form)--the tradition of making a way out of no way--is the same tradition she celebrates in remembering her mother's "rub-board hands." Her poetry also reveals the often hidden costs of resistance. In this collection, Young celebrates her personhood as well as her African American womanhood and the power of self-creation and re-creation in the face of personal rejection, abuse, systematic exploitation, and oppression. Organized chronologically, her poems may be read as road markers from her life's journey. For Young, the road is not a freeway; it is not even always paved. It is, however, a familiar path and one many of us can enter.