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)