LANGSTON HUGHES – FREEDOM TRAIN

Freedom Train

 

I read in the papers about the Freedom Train

I heard on the radio about the Freedom Train

I seen folks talking about the Freedom Train

Lord, I’ve been a-waitin for the Freedom Train!

Washington, Richmond, Durham, Chatanooga, Atlanta

Way cross Georgia.

Lord, Lord, Lord

way down in Dixie the only trains I see’s

Got a Jim-Crow coaches set aside for me.

I hope their ain’t no Jim Crow on the Freedom Train,

No back door entrance to the Freedom Train,

No sign FOR COLORED on the Freedom Train,

No WHITE FOLKS ONLY on the Freedom Train.

I’m gonna check up.

I’m gonna to check up on this

Freedom Train.

Who is the engineer on the Freedom Train?

Can a coal-black man drive the Freedom Train?

Or am I still a porter on the Freedom Train?

Is there ballot boxes on the Freedom Train?

Do colored folks vote on the Freedom Train?

When it stops in Mississippi, will it be made plain

Everybody’s got a right to board the Freedom Train?

I’m gonna check up.

I’m gonna to check up on this

Freedom Train.

The Birmingham station’s marked COLORED and WHITE.

The white folks go left

The colored go right.

They even got a segregated lane.

Is that the way to get aboard the Freedom Train?

I’m gonna check up.

I’m gonna to check up on this

Freedom Train.

If my children ask me, Daddy, please explain

Why a Jim Crow stations for the Freedom Train?

What shall I tell my children?

You tell me, cause freedom ain’t freedom when a man ain’t free.

My brother named Jimmy died at Anzio

He died for real, and it wasn’t no show.

Is this here freedom on the Freedom Train really freedom or a show again?

Now let the Freedom Train come zooming down the track

Gleaming in the sunlight for white and black

Not stoppin’ at no stations marked COLORED nor WHITE,

Just stoppin’ in the fields in the broad daylight,

Stoppin’ in the country in the wide-open air

Where there never was a Jim Crow sign nowhere,

And No Lilly-White Committees, politicians of note,

Nor poll tax layer through which colored can’t vote

And there won’t be no kinda color lines

The Freedom Train will be yours

And mine.

Then maybe from their graves in Anzio

Black men and white will say, We want it so!

Black men and white will say, Ain’t it fine?

At home they got a Freedom train,

A Freedom train,

That’s yours and mine!

 

 

(1947)

LANGSTON HUGHES

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Leslé Honoré – America come get your children

America come get your children

America come get your children

the ones you are so proud of

the ones wearing Stars and Stripes

buying guns like candy

the ones dripping with

white privilege

that you created with

red blood from brown skin

America come get your children

come get your kids

the ones flying flags of defeat

of history long dead

of a life they wish they had

of superiority they believe they have

the lies you whispered in their ears

as you rocked them to sleep

“Look away look away look away Dixie land”

America come get your children

the ones terrorizing this country

the ones terrorizing the world

the ones never called a terrorist

come get

your rapist

your misogynistic

your appropriating

hating

bigoted

offspring

you know …

the apples that didn’t fall far from the tree

America come get your children

the ones running the country

the ones too cowardly to speak up

the ones that shoot into protests

churches

light torches

run cars into peace

come get your diseased infants

entitled children in men’s bodies

jealous girls screaming in women’s voices

come get this disgusting basket of deplorables

that you nurtured on

manifest destiny

the pale pink faces

in utter disbelief

that even though you put your knee

on every brown and black neck you saw

we have fought back and risen

casting shadows on your children

and they rage when they learn

that being a white mediocre man

is no longer enough

America come get your children

before they burn this stolen land down

and you with it

 

~

find Leslé Honoré here

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TIM STALEY – Confession, honesty and repentance are my first steps forward.

This isn’t a poem or a joke.

This is a confession. Confession, honesty and repentance are my first steps forward.

From approximately 1985 to 2001

I participated in racist behaviors.

I called black people racist names.

I looked down on black people and laughed at racist jokes.

I was not an ally to the one black student in the graduating class of my high school.

I wish to repent these crimes

in earshot of America. It took me 45 years to say these words.

It took me 45 seconds to say these words.

A wise poet once said you have to write about the one thing that scares you most.

Maybe this is the first poem I’ve ever written.

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