This essay by Melanie E. L. Bush, titled “Mama, Was it Magic or just Hard Work?” is a chapter of the book Rod Bush: Lessons from a Radical Black Scholar on Liberation, Love, and Justice, edited by Melanie E. L. Bush, and co-edited by Rose M. Brewer, Daniel Douglas, Loretta Chin, and Robert Newby (2019). It offers reflections from the partnership of Rod and Melanie Bush over the course of more than thirty years. They met doing movement work, both having dedicated their lives to the struggle for a world rooted in community and justice. Their journey together included many lessons for love and liberation. Five lessons are offered, summed up in an overall sixth lesson: 1-Love as the guiding principle; 2-Humility; 3-Everyday gratitude; 4-Will you be my “sing-along”; 5-We always, always; always and forever; 6-Live with Intentionality. “Throughout these lessons,” Melanie Bush argues, “persists one notion: while we do not choose our circumstances, we do choose our actions and how we respond. We have agency. We can live in ways that are aligned with our core values and can correct ourselves when we act in ways that are discordant. It’s a choice. For us, these included values involving community, justice, love and humility.”



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