5. Reflections from “Hope & Redemption” the Lena Baker Story

Posted: March 15, 2009 in African American, daughters, family, fathers, Relationships
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Lena Baker (June 8, 1901 – March 5, 1945) was an African American maid who was executed for murder by the State of Georgia in 1945 for killing her employer, Ernest

Lena Baker - Booking mugshot

Lena Baker - Booking mugshot

Knight, 67, in 1944. At her trial she claimed that he had imprisoned and threatened to shoot her should she attempt to leave, whereupon she took his gun and shot him. Baker was the only woman to be executed by electrocution in Georgia. She was granted a full and unconditional pardon by the State of Georgia in 2005, 60 years after her execution. (Wikipedia)

It is not often that a movie will bring me to tears. However, witnessing the retold cinematic account of Lena Baker’s life provides more than one opportunity for a male viewer to shed his manhood in exchange for the oft circumvented outward expression of emotion (a brutha can openly and excusably cry).

While the outcome of Lena Baker’s life was traumatic – to say the least, I am further infuriated by the timeframe during which this travesty took place. In my parent’s lifetime, this – and similar atrocities were allowed to not only occur, but to also go unpunished.

These accounts are just another example of how Blacks suffered racial injustice, inequality and outright hatred. It is a small wonder as to how many of us are able to even the playing field as early as the 21st century – much less witness the election of the nation’s first Black President, Barack Obama (I like writing that).

When I think of Black women, I immediately think of providing a “covering” for them. Steve Harvey said it best in his recent literary effort “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” In his recent publication he suggests that men don’t feel like men unless they are providing and protecting. I choose to collapse the two terms together by simply referring to them as “covering.”

It became apparent early on in the film that neither Lena nor her mother had the proper male covering. It has always been the goal of the enemy (in whatever form he manifests himself) to separate people from their protectors thus rendering them exposed or “open prey” for the world’s predators.

Our late sista, Lena Baker endured what we fathers feel to be the absolute worse things imaginable that could happen to our baby girls. And yes, I use the term “worse” in an absolute sense.

Actress - Tichina Arnold

Actress - Tichina Arnold

In spite of all her challenges, issues, circumstances and misfortunes – until the end of her earthly existence – these three remained: Faith, Hope and Love; with the greatest of these being Love. (1 Corinthians 13:13).

This blog is dedicated to the loving memory of Lena Baker (1901-1945). A special shout out to goes to Tichina Arnold for her award-worthy portrayal of Lena Baker.

…Lest we forget

Be Well, DD-

  1. M&M's Mommy says:

    Excellent, DD! I read about the Lena Baker story in a magazine this week. Your writing motivates me to watch the movie more than the advertisement did. I especially appreciate your definition of “covering”. What a world this would be if all brothers viewed their natural, God-given calling as simply to provide a “covering” for the women and girls in their life. Continue to inspire and provide persuasive, powerful discourse to what really important in life. Thanks for doing you and sharing your tribute with us.

    Blessings and increase….

  2. kelly terrell says:

    I really enjoyed this piece Damon.. I will make sure I go and check out the movie. I really understand the importance of a covering for women & young girls. I lost my dad at a young age and I realized how important it was to have him around after he was gone. I encountered alot of things once he died. I learned just how the world is and how men can be. I am glad he taught me all that he did. My dad kept me from hurt and danger and he schooled me on men. I love him for all of that.. I felt safe knowing my dad was around. I guess thats why in the past I looked for a fatherly love in men.. I sure got a suprise until one day the Lord let me know he would be my Father, brother, sister, mother and Lover.

  3. Damon;

    All has been said that I wanted to say regarding the literary effort. WOW! You are a wonderful man, brutha, and friend. I hope all that encounter you gain a bounty of blessings, as I have, just being in your presence. It is good to know that black men like you really do exist. You are real and love your people, and I love that about you. Keep bringing the love that flows in your writing.

    Peace and Blessings to you,

    Lisa Stevens Burton

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