Tag Archives: Open Mic

Free At Last: A Poem On Black History & Christianity

Last night I had the opportunity to perform this poem at an open mic event in D.C. The poem expresses my thoughts on Black History, the significance of it, two figures in Black History, and how Christianity is weaved into the narrative of Black Americans. Here’s the imbedded YouTube video link and lyrics, hope you all enjoy!

Free At Last

Negro History Week
Let us–take a peek and rewind to the time where the mind of a black man conceived the thought of a national holiday 
celebrating the achievements of colored people–
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, thank you for your contributions 
On the second week of the second month in 1926, 
The Havard-trained historian attempted to re-educate the miseducated negro and the American public through the public school system
Unfortunately his creatively crafted curriculum meant to correct false views of black folk was at first lukewarmly received 
But year after year after year 
The celebration of black excellence continued 
where Teachers, Scholars, and the ASNLH became the sinews of a once infant skeletal structure 
making its way into metaphorical adolescence in 1976 
Negro History Week became Black History Month 
and it still got a lot more growing to do before it’s mature enough to no longer need special attention 
but while I have your attention, let me let you in on a little secret
Slavery is not the beginning of black history, it was just an interruption
Pardon me for the tangent 
However—
I’ve grown increasingly interested in the intricate lives of Frederick 
Douglass and Phillis Wheatley 
Brother Douglass was born a Talbot County slave— 
Went from being sold on auction blocks to articulate author and abolitionist 
but what caught my attention was the faith that he finished with
continual hope in a Liberating God was imperative 
And as I sat down one night 
scanning through the pages of his Narrative 
I couldn’t help but question a few things….
Like why would a man plant himself so deeply into the soils of Scripture 
when them same Scriptures were used to rationalize the whipping of Aunt Hester? 
Could you imagine staring into the blood-shot eyes of a drunk slave master?
Captain Anthony, so intoxicated with power and pride
that he could not see the humanity of the woman in front of him
So Frail, 
So Broken,
So Terrified 
and yet popular Puritan preachers at the time justified this heinous crime 
Or Sister Wheatley, 
the West African slave girl turned prolific poet 
who trusted in the Providence of God
the same God that evangelists taught created her dark ebony skin as a curse 
slowly ripping away at any sense of dignity and worth 
and yet still immersed herself in a faith-filled life? 
Why and How?
the two questions that were so ever-present in my mind 
weighing heavy on my psyche all night
I decided to sleep it off
And the next day 
as I awoke from my slumber sitting on the cold corner of my bed
poetic rhetoric from Propaganda rang powerfully through my head
“Scratch your temple, so deep it’s simple…in all your getting, get understanding, you don’t get it do you?”
Then it clicked–
The reality of God’s existence is not dependent upon poor performance from backwards Puritan preachers 
Nor should the truth of Christ be eclipsed 
By the white slave master’s whips
And I know some who claim to follow Christ, 
Wake up, 
Brush they tongue in hate speech, And go to bed under Confederate Flag sheets deter you from traversin’ on that straight and narrow
Believing it only produces narrow-minded, straight people 
And I know that it’s a dark part of our history
A winter solstice, where the sun shines few and its bright light dim
the Longest Night
And them cold, frigid winds of lies 
cuts at your skin giving you frostbite
Making it hard to breath, it suffocates the truth
Like a noose wrapped around its neck
Hanging from poplar trees
All I see is strange fruit—
However, we all know that winter don’t last forever 
And that the renewing warm breeze of Spring brings 
what was dead back to life
what was hidden in plain sight 
And them potent rays of light pierce through thick gray skies
So that the reality of the Sun (Son)
Loosens that noose 
Gives breath back to them lungs
And heals the wounds of those to whom it may concern
So now, I emancipate my vocal cords 
for the proclamation of a narrative that’s far from a European folklore
–that was extra for my 5% & Hotep brothers, how a Mideast movement gon’ be a white mans religion? 
Like didn’t you know that Jesus grew up in Nazareth & his tattered feet walked Egyptian soil?
And yes, them Puritans were trippin’ 
They used faith to bind black men, women and children 
but Yeshiva, God in his Providence loosened the physical shackles and chains of our people 
And in the process some even became His people
Spiritually set free from the grip of their own depravity
Harmoniously proclaiming: 
“Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty we’re free at last!”