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    when black people speak...

    "Primer For Blacks" by Gwendolyn Brooks

    "Primer For Blacks" by Gwendolyn Brooks

    is a title,
    is a preoccupation,
    is a commitment Blacks
    are to comprehend—
    and in which you are
    to perceive your Glory.
    The conscious shout
    of all that is white is
    “It’s Great to be white.”
    The conscious shout
    of the slack in Black is
    "It's Great to be white."
    Thus all that is white
    has white strength and yours.
    The word Black
    has geographic power,
    pulls everybody in:
    Blacks here—
    Blacks there—
    Blacks wherever they may be.
    And remember, you Blacks, what they told you—
    remember your Education:
    “one Drop—one Drop
    maketh a brand new Black.”
             Oh mighty Drop.
    ______And because they have given us kindly
    so many more of our people
    stretches over the land.
    the Black of it,
    the rust-red of it,
    the milk and cream of it,
    the tan and yellow-tan of it,
    the deep-brown middle-brown high-brown of it,
    the “olive” and ochre of it—
    marches on.
    The huge, the pungent object of our prime out-ride
    is to Comprehend,
    to salute and to Love the fact that we are Black,
    which is our “ultimate Reality,”
    which is the lone ground
    from which our meaningful metamorphosis,
    from which our prosperous staccato,
    group or individual, can rise.
    Self-shriveled Blacks.
    Begin with gaunt and marvelous concession:
    YOU are our costume and our fundamental bone.
          All of you—
          you COLORED ones,
          you NEGRO ones,
    those of you who proudly cry
          “I’m half INDian”—
          those of you who proudly screech
          “I’VE got the blood of George WASHington in MY veins”
          ALL of you—
                you proper Blacks,
          you half-Blacks,
          you wish-I-weren’t Blacks,
          Niggeroes and Niggerenes.


    "Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes

    "Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

    (America never was America to me.)

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.

    (It never was America to me.)

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There’s never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.

    Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That’s made America the land it has become.
    O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home—
    For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
    And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
    To build a “homeland of the free.”

    The free?

    Who said the free?  Not me?
    Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
    And all the songs we’ve sung
    And all the hopes we’ve held
    And all the flags we’ve hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay—
    Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

    O, let America be America again—
    The land that never has been yet—
    And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
    The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.

    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
    We must take back our land again,

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath—
    America will be!

    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain—
    All, all the stretch of these great green states—
    And make America again!