Building On a Legacy
Black History Month 2000

Langston Hughes Poetry Contest

I Dream Langston
He turns words in clouds,
sows fantasies in the rain
to watch poets grow in the desert

He hears God Bless the Child,
with heaven on vocals
earth on bass
the ocean on alto saxophone
and the Spirit of Africa on percussion

He sees golden rivers bring hope 
to those below the bottom,
reaching up,
baptize them in the truth
and let them dry in peace

He tells me,
We are the home that Dreams built
Michael A. Campbell
1st Place Winner

For Those Who Never Marched With Kings

Eva, my grand mama
cusses
more than she cries

sits in 
times to 
play bingo, watch news, take pills

keeps photo-
graph of the man 
in her living room

tears up 
when company asks
where she got it

says she never saw Jesus 
in a grown man
so short.

MissEva never marched
but she knows the
               movement.
Nelson Demery III
2nd Place Winner

Pen of Peace
(Kalamu Ya Salaam)

A man who dances with poetry and feet

Energetically advises, "be impeccable with your words"

Wears combination colors

Shows his hard brown toe nails

Harmonizes himself to an African drum beat

The musician in him rejuvenates

His poet beckons

Eyes penetrate to the real

Pen breaks the mold that society carved

Intellect is active

Sundry creations

Extra ordinary poet

He is 

A live show worth money and wait

But, whispers tell

The doctor warned against fried pork

Beware of prostate

He said, "All good writers read."

The doctor said walk
Kiondra Sampey

Surviving - (Sonnet)


Fighting for survival 
Running with a purpose
Things seems peaceful on the surface
Actions slow on arrival
Ignoring label or titles
Carrying expression of mad dog faces
Walking through unfamiliar places
With hinds of no vitals 
Heart that's purring and idles
When adrenaline races
Pursuing useless chases
Still fighting for survival
No role model and no idols
To plead my cases

Nijo S. Shaw

Hey Homey-(Ode)

Hey Homey
Hey Homey
Is it true what I here
Are you facing up to 20 years

Hey Homey 
Hey Homey
What's really going on
How do you carry on 

Hey Homey 
Hey Homey
I avoided you mother's eye
She's about ready to cry

Hey Homey
Hey Homey
Ain't nothing in these street
The police are playing for keeps
Nijo S. Shaw

The Entrance

The door swings open
 Everybody rushes in
   I am left outside
Helane N. Johnson

Ode To A Warrior A Civil Rights Activist in Plaquemines Parish

The chains, the chains
The pains, the pains
Can't win, can't win
Yet we sing, we sing
To your sound, your sound
That you bring, you bring
Can't win, can't win
Yet we sing, we sing

All that you dreamed 
All that you hoped
 It wasn't all it promised
It wasn't all it seemed
Yet we sing, yet we sing
To your sound, your sound
We sing to the sound you bring

How easy you were hunted
Easily made prey
Battles were fought
But the came JUDGEMENT DAY!
And we sing, and we sing
To your sound, to your sound
We sing to the sound you bring

The chains, the chains
The pains, the pains
Can't win, can't win
Yet WE SING, WE SING
To your sound, to your sound
That you bring, you bring
We sing to the sound you bring
Helane N. Johnson

I Saw The Light For The First Time

I walked in to it
Allowed it to hold me marveled in it's creation
"it is for me"
the soul knows instinctively
it stirs when touched gently
it burns the eyes
yet they strain to see
     purity
to squint to flinch
to feel it securely on a park bench
I am the Dark show me the light
make me whole 
Make me right
D. S. Gilmore

The Next Decade

I saw the future
It came two me clearly
written across their faces
In wraps and dreads
Rees and tims
Hard and soft
Different in tones
Multiples in goals
Multi tasked in the struggle 
Seeking the same outcome
When the sky opened what did it promise them
After children became mothers
After homies became paul bears
Threw the tears
Threw the hi's
They who survived
Nok lights
no milk 
no hopes they found joy
they who saw clear
they who saw clear
they who out reached
they who struggle
to achieve
they who maintain
I saw the future in their eyes, faces, and smiles    
Dohn Gilmore

Dear Kiesha

It was quiet that night
The wind-embraced u
Holding us
The monster slept the sea was soothed
With my eyes tight
I clasped u crushing your breath
If anything was ever right
Every thing says you
I have a dream
And every detail intails you
What do I do?
Thou who once was callis
Is crippled upon you
I promised the first time
I'd never feel the pain again
So I'd never feel this pain again
So I'd never hurt you
In our bound I want to be crew
Partners, and lovers to
Yes, sex is important
But I want to know you
All the forces in nature
Instinct, sight, and sound
Lead to you
When we hugged 
The dogs spoke your name in foreign tongue
The wind compressed our bodies
Till our chest compounded to one thud
The moon smiled
You are my speed make me your style
If we only had two pennies
To rub till they were
Dimes
I'd be fine
As long as you were mine
Dohn Gilmore

Blackness

Big Hips.
Black Lips.
Shades of Brown, Black and cream.
Who's to judge my only dream?
For my afrocentric du.
Knotted, braided, combed straight through.

A long way
long, heartfelt journey
african americans
stand up, stand tall, proud

The beat
Congo, jazz, unique person I am
I walk with a cultural rhythm
Sort of a spiritual beat.
Is it the drums I hear or 
The stepping of African feet.
Terrylyn C. Eddington

A tribute to the Reverend Percy M. Griffin of Plaqumines Parish
"Warrior"

Stands tall
Stand proud
Hunts with a keen sight
Out for the KO
Down to the last fight

Is ancient in age
Bu strong in might
Will kick your ass, with great word from his mouth
Fights with no gun, no violence takes no stuff

He will bullet riddle your mind
With his actions a bit
Travels along with hate following at night
But has no fear of those that creep with no light

He is a Zulu warrior a chief of his nation
the captain of his ship                                     
The one who fights without the need for organization
Terrylyn C. Eddington

Waiting on my ride

     Sittin on my porch
watchin the cars
     Dang!
Shoulda asked what color his was
     Ooh!
Is that it 
the blue one turnin
   No, 
that ain't him 
what a lesson I'm learnin.
  I ain't neva gon ask him for a
ride again.
When he get here
i'ma kill him.
     Look!
I'm twenty minutes late
I wonder if this is how
he treats the women he dates.
    "I'll be there in a minute"
is what he said.
I shoulda known he lied.
Now I'm just sittin on the porch 
waitin for my ride.
Melissa Perkins

What do you mean I'm too black?

What do you mean I'm too black?
Is it that I hold my head to high?
Or walk with too much pride?

How about that I come from kings and queens?
Is it that my reality is your dream?

What do you mean I'm too black?
I won't go far.
Oh! Is that a fact?
Well, maybe I should say you're too this 
or too that.

Nevermind, Ill cling to the battles my ancestors fought
And to the history that has surely been taught
I will always jeep those lessons in tact
Because one thing's for sure
I could never be too black!!
Melissa Perkins

Southern Trees

  Southern trees bare strange fruit
a southern woman once said
she said the fruit wasn't ripe to pick
until the fruit was dead

  Southern fruit swings in the breeze
hidden within the limbs of the trees
you wonder how they grow so high
no one has pick it, you wonder why?

  Southern fruit doesn't grow by itself
the white robed gardeners seem to help
somehow they keep out of sight
and do their strange gardening late at night

  In the morning you may come to see
a fruit you know hanging from a tree
be careful how you take it down
you might spill more red juice on the ground.
Melissa Perkins

AFRICAN AMERICAN

          JUST LIKE ROSA PARKS WANTED TO 
SIT IN FRONT OF THE BUS, BUT TO GET WHERE
SHE WANTED SHE HAD TO MAKE A BIG FUSS
          WE CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY EVERY 
FEBRUARY IN A YEAR, THROUGH OUR NATIVE AMERICANS 
AND THROUGH OUR PEERS.
          WE TALK ABOUT BLACK HISTORY ALL
OVER THE WORLD 
                         BY EVERY WOMAN, MAN, GIRL, AND BOY.
JUST LIKE DR. KING SAID I HAVE A DREAM,
          AND DON'T WANT OUR BLACK AND
WHITES TO BE SO MEAN.
          DR. KING DIDN'T MAKE THE SPEECH FOR 
US; TO SHOOT EACH OTHER WITH A GUN
          HE WANTED EVERY BLACK AND WHITE 
TO BE TOGETHER AS ONE.
VICTORIA DOWELL

I am

I am the filler of half-colored circles printed on reality by the sweat on sun-bathed
soldiers that live for me
I am the painter of colored-half circles, make love with pain and give birth to dreams
They live for me while I live
They, epitome of ebony excellence
They, the women that wore hurt and abuse on their souls and didn't allow it to steal their
love
They, struggle to read, to teach the unlearned
They, the folk preachers, the church schoolteachers, the maids, the fighters, the troopers
They live for me while I live
And they live in me, because I love
And I color circles with freshness born of ancient breath
Eugene James Anthony Hebert

Mocha

fill me up and make me
whole is what I asked

let me no longer be
brainwashed, but culturally 
aware

negro black, nigga, mammy,
coon

those were the cluster of 
terms that had me confused

until I was lead to a light
that shined bright enough
for me

opened up my mind and sought
spiritual guidance, putting 
my soul at ease

got rid of the glamour, became
acceptant of the standard

not requiring makeup to cover 
up the true beauty of me

removed everything negative
that's been fed into my head

wised up, locked up, and grew 
me some dreads

it doesn't matter what people
think or how they feel I should
be

being comfortable with my identity
is what matters most to me

my eyes are not bright and glossy, 
but they are dark and obscure

inviting false perceptions, in which 
I tend to ignore

allowing me to profess and suggest 
things that will grab your attention

also helping me be more conscious of 
things I say and do
Monique Griffith

Life

And me, here in this ocean of moments, 
distance, time and meaning. And all that dwells within this
raging storm of mixed emotions. My life ....
The surface floats about calling me like my
drive, and ambition to succeed in life.

When you're at the bottom it seems so far 
far away. It calls to me, and I respond, by
climbing, not looking back, lest I drown,
falling victim to the gravity, pressure, and 
the depth.   My life ....

I climb holding my breath. With all my
hopes and dreams clearly manifested,
within my eyes range. Reality ...
So I move on, upward until I reach
my destination, which is the surface.
Only to look to the clear but distant sky 
above. And them as I look to my side,
I focus to realize, that although I have
reached the surface, my mission is far from 
finished.  I can see the shore, tiny and 
distant, but my hope does not diminish. 

And I swim toward it's security and safety,
longing for the warmth of the sand to 
embrace me. And as I reach, crawl to walk, 
and finally stand upon the shore, with 
waves pulling at my feet. I look back at the ocean, vast and blue.
Reflecting. In the sky above, I see all the joys and pains 
added up, some subtracted. And the end equation is love, 
as the sun sets ....
Torez R. Williams

i                             
                                
                         am wearing red
                           a little 
                           too light
                            for love
                          dark enough
                            for pain
                           animosity
                             boils
                            at the 
                           freezing 
                                  point
                             trust
                            precedes
                           the noose
                              foot
                            to face
                          opportunity
                           stretches
                           no longer
                             than 
                           the though
                              even
                             spare
                             change
                             makes
                           no CHANGE 
                               i
                             guess
                           i'm lucky
                         not many will 
                            get to 
                           experience
                              such
                          lifelike art
                            even if 
                            it is in
                             BLACK 
                              and 
                             white
Delicia Daniels

Step Into The AM

It is time to challenge the cause
It is not about them
Who cares about them

This is about us
Yes, black people as we rise and fall
We, become one

It's about what you have and what I want
It's about what you got and how you got it
It's about what you took and who you took it from

What is it? What is it?
Violence
Useless, Senseless, Crazy, Mad, Violence!
Why? Why? Please tell me, Why?

When you woke up this morning
Didn't you realize we lost one more black man to this thing, called Violence
Useless, Senseless, Crazy, Mad Violence

Young, Gifted, Talented black minds
Wasting away in a coffin, their blood screams from the street
Over what?
Revenge, Words, A female, Drugs, What!
Yes, a mistake
Don;t wait too late
It's time to wake up black people!
It's time to, Step into the AM
Jamila C. Williams

A Tribute to Reverend Percy Murphy Griffin. A Civil Rights
Activist from Plaquemines Parish.

From the beginning to the end he knew he could win.
Freedom is what he strove for never willing to end.
Oh what a man this Percy Murphy Griffin was, never
letting injustice slip out of his hands.  He even broke 
barriers with his kids by making them stand.
He touched every soul from the Eastside to the Westside.
The territory was already divided and this he knew best.
Dreams of home, knowing that it was not of this earth that he 
belonged.
You see, this Warrior, this God-sent man, thought not only of 
himself, but 
for my children and yours to enjoy a piece of this land. 
He fought long and hard and strong never in his heart did he feel
wrong.
The battle was won he already knew, never on a limb,
because his prayers went through.
He speaks of the past willing, never with a fear.
Leaving out no moment, for they were all too clear.
A revolutionary was this Percy Murphy Griffin. No ifs, ands, or 
buts because our future was
to near. A one man fight to preserve all rights for those who had
never NOT chosen to
receive the Life, Liberty, and Pursuit provided to all men.
T. C. McGhee

VOICE

                 What happened to the movement?
 What happened to the soul fighting, heart burning, passionate
                      young men and women?
                                
     What happened to the marching, singing, and preaching?
        What happened to petitions, chants, and slogans?
                   "I'm black and I'm proud!
                                
      What happened to our pride, inspiration, and spirit?
         What happened to our ambition, and dedication?
      What happened to our confidence, strength, and will?
                                
                           I ask you,
                  What happened to our voice?
                                
               Have we been jailed to many times?
   Have we been beaten by batons or bitten by dogs too often?
               Did someone blow out our candles?
                Or maybe they broke our spirits?
                                
Have our forefathers and foremother's struggles and torments been in vein.
                                
                        So we can vote. 
                            So what!
               So we can sit anywhere on the bus.
                            So what!
                                
          Can we attend any college or obtain any job?
  Can we shop in any store without being watched or followed?
                                
                  Have achieved all our goals?
                   Have we settled for less?
                  What happened to our voice?
                                
                 What happened to the movement?
Bianca Mona

Untitled

Silent, steady, footsteps
steadily marching, 
People yelling, screaming, 
glass breaking; silently they march on

Marching to the silent but healthy voice of freedom.
Freedom to learn, to praise, and be human,
a freedom that as long as faith, determination, and
perseverance are there is never gone.

They March On.

The leader a strong, powerful warrior;
Fighting a battle against racism, ignorance, and fear.
A warrior with a voice and a faith unchanging,
to fight the battles that the racist have in store.

They March On.

Dedicated to Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Percy M. Griffin.
Fought for the rights of Blacks to vote in Plaquemines Parish, 
Louisiana
Stephanie D. Clark

SUICIDE MISSION

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, BLACK PRESIDEN-SEIZE

I LEADS BY LIGHT, IN THE CALL OF THE NITE
ROAMIN' THY TERRITORY, WITH THE THIRST OF PURGATORY
TO COMPLETE MY WHOLE STORY, STILL IN LORDS' CRU GLORY
A PIT STOP, AT THE WORST LUCIS'GOT, TAKEN SHOTS AT ME, MOLESTEE,
HEAVENS' ARMY
(ARMIN' ME)

THRONE TO THE BONE, THEY NEVER HARM ME
MORTALLY IS THERE A GHOST IN THE MACHINE, LEVELLY EXTRACTED IT
SEEMS
MY TEAM HAS THE GLEAM IN THEIR EYES

SUICIE-EASE PLEASE ON DOWN THE ROW, BLACK PRESI-DISEASE OH-OH-OH
GET A MEAL (MILL), PAY A BILL, WRITE MY WILL, ON THE OFFICE LAWN,
PAPER ONLY THING I GOT UNDER ME AT DIS IS THE CHERRY TREE
CONSPIRACIES IN ACTION, A HEATED PASSION
CIA'S HEAT IM MY SLEEP, NOSTRA DREAMS, ASSASSINS LETS CREEP
PICTURE SENT ROLLIN' IN A E, KENNEDY, SHOT TO THE LEFT SIDE OF ME
MADE NIGGRA DISEASE, TELEKINEEZ BLEEDZ, HONOR AMONG THIEVES
JAPANESE EQUITIES, OVERSEARS G'S

SUICIDEEZ NA, NA, NA, NA PLEASE, BLACK PRESIDEN-SEIZE, LBC-ELIZE
TO NEWORLEANS
SUICIDE MISSION, IS WHAT I HEAR NIGGRA NO FEAR
PRAISE TO THE DEAR LORD, FOR WANTIN' MORE
IN SOCIETY, IN OUR GENES THESE HIGH FREAKY SCENCES(FREQUENCIES),
ALLIANCE SEIZE
THOSE SWORE TO THE SECRE-SEIZE, TO THE DECK OF INDEPENDENCY,
UPLIFT FROM TYRANCY BREED, WE SLAVE DESCENDENCY
MANDATE OF HEAVEN SENTENCED THEE, LEGAC-EIZE
AN MADE CANDIDA-SEIZE, I FEED FROM THEE POTENCY, ALL POWERFLEE
COME RUN WITH ME, THESE SEIZE, DEADLY EFFICIENCY, IRON CALVARY
PLEASE ON THE HUNT LIST, ENLIST I INSIST, SUICIDE BLISS
YOU IN THE FOXHOLE DISMISSED, BUT GET THIS
PANTHRESS, DONTRESS, GEE A CON ARRTIST
NA, NA, NA, NA, DON'T TEST JUST GOT
MY NIGGAS BREAST
Brandie Barry - A.K.A.. "Killa Lamb"

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