January 29, 2013

What is Black History?

by Latorial Faison

It is the dirt road our forefathers trod,
Memories of their lives branded in our hearts.
It is a word, a place, a state of mind.
Black history is a peek into our ancestors’ time.

It is a piece of fabric our grandmothers wore,
An old rope that our grandfathers lived to deplore.
It is a slave ship and middle passage over seas.
Black history is cotton fields and tobacco leaves.

It is a plantation overseer and back door crumbs,
Weeping and wailing, a beating of drums.
It is a troubling truth, an unapologetic past.
Black history is an entire race struggling to last.

It is a Mississippi burning in a Tennessee town,
An evil that lingered to bring Black people down.
It is a book or movie of strength, courage, and will.
Black history is the fate of young Emmett Till.

It is little Ruby Bridges, the exquisite Ruby Dee,
Carter G. Woodson, and Coretta Scott King.
A Mahalia Jackson song, a Michael Jackson routine,
Black history is the phrase “Let freedom ring!”

It is Cheney University, the Tuskegee Airmen,
The N. A. A. C. P., the Black Holocaust Museum.
It is a navy master diver named Carl Brashear.
Black history is our legacy of triumph without fear.

It is General Colin Powell, a Vaudeville drama,
Zora Neale Hurston, and President Barack Obama.
It is every single experience of our history.
Black history is the story of you and me.

Copyrighted February 2011 Latorial D. Faison
from 28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History Volume 3 (2012)

October 09, 2012

A Slave's Revolt

by Latorial Faison

It's a vision ever emblazoned in Heaven's 
truth of dismal days lived by men back 

then, times of stoop-side Sunday Schools 
in Southampton County. Brother Nat was 

preaching to a people caught up in a white 
man's deception he felt moved to rebel 

against.  He was more than a preacher without 
a pulpit; he was a slave with a calling to call 

his brethren to everlasting arms"The white 
man's evil, and we want to be free, the signs 

keep a comin' and they a pressin' me." It was 
the heart of the black, Virginia, Jerusalem,

white way, till the blood of freedom appeared
and painted God's skies, miraculously in  

black Moses’ eyes. Anointed, sanctified, soul 
on fire, the slave was called to congregate, not 

abdicate. He was chosen, and the time had 
come for us to walk through the fire. Not a 

quest, but a calling, to leave none living,
none breathing. For the air God gave all, 

was stolen, stripped, taken and whipped out 
of us; they bled a dark people of life running 

through their veins, mocked them with 
husbands, wives, and mulatto baby cries 

until it was, to no surprise, justified rebellion
a righteous revolt, a song of silent amen's.

Copyrighted February 2005 Latorial Faison | www.latorialfaison.com
from 28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History (2006) by Latorial Faison