Category Archives: Black History Month 2021

Allison Joseph

Black History Month Day 28.

I would like to end this month with a favorite poem of mine. It reminds me of a 12-year-old me enthralled in the magic of books, marveling at the skill of the novelists and poets to ignite the imagination, and ignoring my chores. Dance entered my life much later, but with the same wonder and awe.

I started this month by presenting a poem from Phyllis Wheatley, a slave whose destiny was defined by her master. I end the month by offering a contemporary poet born and raised in the free world and who once said, “I write to be a recorder, observer, participant, and sometimes, even judge.”

Soul Train
By Allison Joseph (1967-)

Oh how I wanted to be a dancer
those Saturday mornings in the
Read the complete poem here.

Georgia Douglas Johnson

Black History Month Day 25.

Black Woman
By Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966)

Don’t knock at my door, little child,
….I cannot let you in,
You know not what a world this is
….Of cruelty and sin.
Wait in the still eternity
….Until I come to you,
The world is cruel, cruel, child,
….I cannot let you in!

Don’t knock at my heart, little one,
….I cannot bear the pain
Of turning deaf-ear to your call
….Time and time again!
You do not know the monster men
….Inhabiting the earth,
Be still, be still, my precious child,
….I must not give you birth!

This poem is in the public domain.

Claude McKay

Black History Month Day 21.

The Barrier
By Claude McKay (1889–1948)

I must not gaze at them although
Your eyes are dawning day;
I must not watch you as you go
Your sun-illumined way;

I hear but I must never heed
The fascinating note,
Which, fluting like a river reed,
Comes from your trembling throat;

I must not see upon your face
Love’s softly glowing spark;
For there’s the barrier of race,
You’re fair and I am dark.

This poem is in the public domain.