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UMD American Studies professor Parks comments on Venus Green, a 87 year-old African-American women reportedly abused by police.

By Heather E. Harris, The Baltimore Sun

She was dragged, tossed, handcuffed, and, she says, repeatedly called a "bitch," according to news reports. In her own words, she was "brutally abused." At the time of the incident, Venus Green was also 87 years old.

Recently, at age 90, Mrs. Green received an out-of-court settlement for her troubles from Baltimore City for $95,000. The settlement for the indignity is not the point of this commentary; rather, it is the repetition of such indignities and violence on the bodies of people of African descent, and Africana women in particular — not just by people of other ethnic groups but also by members of our own communities.


In the case of Mrs. Green, she chose the path of fighting back both within her home, where she was attacked; and in the community at large by suing the Baltimore Police Department. That she chose to fight would come as no surprise to Sheri Parks, associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In fact, she would probably view Mrs. Green as a "Fierce Angel," the title of her book and the phrase she uses to describe an African-American woman who is almost impossibly strong and selfless. According to Ms. Parks, "Every day, Black women pick up a load that is heavy and complicated. The role is overwhelming — it calls for incredible levels of emotional, spiritual, and intellectual energy, combined with a selflessness that is truly superhuman and wildly unrealistic."

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