I Remember Toni Cade Bambara

I first met Toni Cade Bambara in 1989 at the “Parallels and Intersections: Racism and Other Forms of Oppression” conference sponsored by the multi-racial and multi-ethnic Women Against Racism Committee (WAR).  I was a 30-year old budding activist, on the scene sharpening my movement building skills and developing myself as a critical thinker at the feet of brilliant feminist women of color.

“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well? [Salt Eaters]

At the time I met Bambara my loosely formed tresses had not locked in yet.  Sistah Bambara approached me at the WAR conference to comment on my locs and to exchange tips for grooming our hair.  We agreed that for us locking (her twists) was a meditation not merely a fashion. I was familiar with her literary and activist work but not her physical appearance, therefore I was not aware that I was talking with TONI CADE BAMBARA not until after our conversation and later in the day when she approached the podium to address the conference.

The gentle sistah who approached me introduced herself simply as “Toni”.  I recall her as possessing a profoundly LOVING and compassionate vibration.  The woman in this photo with her was a community activist from somewhere deep in the mid-west, like me, she was elated to be at the conference, momentarily out of isolation (I’d been living in a semi-rural town) and undoubtedly excited to meet Bambara. To this day, I fondly recall the grace and power of our honorable ancestor Toni Cade Bambara, her life work, her being, and the impact she made on my soul case.

Yes, Sistah Bambara, I am sure I want to be well…and I AM WELL,  in large part because of your DIVINE BEING. I place at your feet my offering of baby loc w/cowrie & hematite, white sage and lapis luzili.  May the ancestors continue to cool your brow.

Honor and praises.

Happy Birthday Toni Cade Bambara (Podcast)

Hugh Masekela performed at the W.A.R. conference.  In tribute to another ancestor Miriam Makeba I offer this musical dedication in celebration of their lives.


3 Responses to “I Remember Toni Cade Bambara”

  1. tucker farley Says:

    grief and celebration

  2. i also remember toni cade bambara and our meeting was similiar. it was in the early 80’s at baruch college in new york and we were both early and waiting to go into the conference room. she asked me if i was an artist and i said i felt that i was but i didnt yet know my medium. i have never forgotten that encounter as i think she did help me to begin to think of myself in that way. imagine my surprise when she stepped to the podium.

  3. skyeviewtraveler Says:

    donna rose Says:
    March 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm e
    wow…a beautiful tribute!!! also dig the old ashe tee….i still have a couple of issues (of course w/my offerings and that of friends) in print…so important to remember and share…have you been up on those young sisters w/the mobile homecoming project…broken beautiful press? likely u r…seems you not only haven’t missed much, but even more importantly, yopu’ve chronicled as well!

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