The following poem was written by KIPP Massachusetts staff member, Michelle D. Smith. Michelle’s poetry collections can be found for download and purchase at the links below.
In The Spirit: Poems of My Thoughts
Quench The Thirst • Heritage Quilt
What Is – Where Is – Who Is Black America
What Is, Where Is, Who Is Black America?
By: M.D. Smith
© Jan., 1988
What Is Black America?
Is the term “Black America” well-distinguished?
It can be generally defined as the group of colored skin people
of various black cultural heritages who live in the U.S.A.
Well, that description is clear and distinctive, isn’t it??
So, where is Black America? As far as I know, there is no specific location.
In reminiscence, life for blacks in America wasn’t so hot for the first 400 years.
Ya know why? ‘Cause they were forced to reside and work in this Land
as slaves for white, racist European colonists…shackled and shipped
to the U.S.A. in horrendous conditions, against their will from their homes far and near.
It’s true! Black People do not have their cultural roots in North America;
even though some of us have generations of our families who have been here for a while.
We’re still seeking equality through a continual journey of “proverbial long miles.”
And, who is Black America?
Are the members worthy of the group only those who have set precedent
for progress of the black race (e.g. Benjamin Banneker, George Washington Carver, Charles
Drew, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida B. Wells, Madame C.J.
Walker; W.E.B. DuBois, Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Ture), Marva Collins, MLK, Jr.,
Malcolm X, Barbara Jordan, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, etc.)
Or is it, as I know it’s suppose to be, the collection of black people
who make up the entire race? Yes, it’s the collection that is Black America.
So, why are there so many hidden faces? Why is there chism in the body of people
that are descendants of kings & queens?
Why are there classes (i.e. black bourgeoisie, upper & middle class, working class, and poor)
of black folk who are so disunited from being a united, uplifted black race?
It’s time to come together—a black race that truly supports its members as a whole.
Calling all people of African descent: open your eyes, open your eyes.
Let us move up in establishing ourselves as people who truly stand up, stand beside,
look out for each other. My prayer is that some day soon
we’ll be truly living united as sisters and brothers.