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Like so many millions across the globe, I deeply mourn the loss of one of our greatest real-life superheroes, Chadwick Boseman. To pay tribute and homage to him, my family rewatched his amazing performance in Black Panther. T'Challa was one of Boseman's most important roles both on and off the screen, as his portrayal of the heroic warrior and leader of the people of Wakanda inspired viewers of all ages. Re-visiting the futuristic city of Wakanda on screen caused me to reflect on how Blacks in America once had our own version of Wakanda: Black Wall Street.

Before I had a kid, I was convinced that I could handle anything. I'd worked my way from community college to the University of Michigan to a job at Google to a career in television hosting. I was no stranger to late nights, weekly business travel, and the never-ending grind of building a career. It was all I knew for the entirety of my 20s. I'd been through successes and failures. I'd made immense sacrifices, and I became almost too good at functioning on three hours of sleep and lots of caffeine. No sleep or free time? Come on—I would have this motherhood thing in the bag. I had it all figured out.

"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.

"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.

"More grapes?"

I shook my head.


I stood there.

"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"

I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."

"Thank you, Momma!"

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it. I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then became to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and to provide a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

After I exchanged enough information with the Uber driver to confirm that neither one of us was likely a serial killer, the spotless sedan was quickly filled with enough small talk to occupy the brief ride. "What do you do?" "I'm a writer." "Ah, what do you write?" At the time, I was deep in writing my debut non-fiction book, Raising the Resistance: A Mother's Guide to Practical Activism, and had been busy typing away about feminism, reproductive justice, antiracism, and other topics that don't normally come up during a short Uber ride with a stranger but had consumed my work and much of my life. "I'm writing a book," I responded. "Oh! About what?" "Motherhood and political activism."

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