Class

Location

92392
United States
34° 29' 7.5588" N, 117° 25' 13.4292" W

When I was born
We were Negroes
Free, living like slaves
In rundown tenements
Jailed daily
On the 'Colored' side
Pictures of "Southern Fruit
Swinging From Poplar Trees"
Were placed on postcards
And sold for a penny.

When I was twenty
We were African Americans
There were colored bathrooms
Separate water faucets in the park
Hangings
Were less popular
We could live
In many neighborhoods but
Flaming crosses often
Burned our lawns
As bricks crashed through windows
To land on our beds
As we slept.

When I was thirty
We were Black
Could go to any bathroom
Drink from any faucet
Hangings went underground
Crosses became passé
But our leaders were
assassinated
And our children were called
"niggers"
In the institutes of learning
To teach them their place
Until old enough for jail.

Today we are proud to be black
Even when dragged
Til beheaded
Behind a pickup truck for sport
Shot dead wearing a hoodie
Carrying tea and Skittles
Shot dead playing loud music
Sitting in the back seat.

Seems we failed to read
America’s definition of 'black'
In Webster’s Dictionary
Before we became proud
Then we'd understand why
We're guilty until proven innocent.

Poetry Slam: 

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