Day One

Today, a collection of poems…

Dreams, by Langston Hughes, whose grandfather was the first black American to be elected to public office, in 1855

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die 
Life is a broken-winged bird 
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams 
For when dreams go 
Life is a barren field 
Frozen with snow.                                                                                                                                

 

Equality, by Maya Angelou

You declare you see me dimly 
through a glass which will not shine, 
though I stand before you boldly, 
trim in rank and making time.
You do own to hear me faintly 
as a whisper out of range, 
while my drums beat out the message 
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free. 
Equality, and I will be free.
You announce my ways are wanton, 
that I fly from man to man, 
but if I’m just a shadow to you, 
could you ever understand?
We have lived a painful history, 
we know the shameful past, 
but I keep on marching forward, 
and you keep on coming last.
Equality, and I will be free. 
Equality, and I will be free.
Take the blinders from your vision, 
take the padding from your ears, 
and confess you’ve heard me crying, 
and admit you’ve seen my tears.
Hear the tempo so compelling, 
hear the blood throb through my veins. 
Yes, my drums are beating nightly, 
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free. 
Equality, and I will be free. 

 

Frederick Douglass, by Robert Hayden

 


When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful 
and terrible thing, needful to man as air, 
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all, 
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole, 
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more 
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians: 
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro 
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world 
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien, 
this man, superb in love and logic, this man 
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric, 
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone, 
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives 
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

 

Democrat Man, a song by blues singer John Lee Hooker

I know I get shoes, I get clothes, when the democrats get back in again
Vote them, they vote them in, I’m a democrat man, I’m a democrat man
Please, please don’t be no fool no more
Hmm, hmm I ain’t goin’ down to that welfare store
It won’t be long, whoa yeah
I’m a democrat , I’m a democrat man
And I’ll be until the day I die 

 



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