Black History Month Poems

Published: February 2020

Inspiring Poems To Celebrate Black History Month

One of the celebrations that takes place during February is Black History Month. It’s a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans. The world of poetry has been touched by these individuals. Poets like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou have helped to encourage, influence, and change the world with their words.

25 Inspiring Poems To Celebrate Black History Month

  1. Still I Rise

    Famous Poem

    Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated American Poets of our time. Born in 1928, her life has spanned much of the African American struggle for racial equality. She was a confidant of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In this poem about African American Courage, Angelou embodies the power, courage and tenacity of the African American experience.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may tread me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise.

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    Still I Rise By Maya Angelou

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    "Still I Rise" is a verbalized legacy formed from the roots and depth of her heart. Maya Angelou exhilarated how to overcome life barriers as she exhaled a fulfilling visual capacity of a...

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  2. Phenomenal Woman

    Famous Poem

    Maya Angelou is one of the most influential women of our time. Her writing pulls on the hearts of many readers. In addition to her proliferous writing career, Maya Angelou has been a civil rights activist. This poem shows how even though someone is not beautiful on the outside compared to society's standards, there is an inner beauty that makes a woman even more beautiful.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Analysis of Form and Technique

    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I'm telling lies.

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    Phenomenal Woman By Maya Angelou this poem is a Classic that deals with every women in the world. This poem shows that beauty is compare by what society thinks a woman should looked like,...

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  4. Human Family

    Famous Poem

    In this beautiful and powerful poem, Maya Angelou, teaches us that we are all people, and so much more alike than different. Imagine the change we would see in the world if we all lived this simple truth!

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    I note the obvious differences
    in the human family.
    Some of us are serious,
    some thrive on comedy.

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    With so much sadness and feeling alone in the world today, reading these words reminded me there are so many others that feel the same. And it's so important for us all to remember all humans...

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  5. Dreams

    Famous Poem

    Langston Hughes was an American poet who became famous for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He was the first African American to support himself as a writer. In this poem, Langston Hughes shares the importance of having dreams. Without dreams, our lives do not feel complete. We do not have anything to work toward, so holding onto the dreams strengthens and empowers us. In this short poem, he pulls the reader’s attention to this theme by using the repetition of the phrase, “Hold fast to dreams.” Dreams is written in Quatrains (4 line stanzas) and follows the ABCB rhyme scheme.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.

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    Dreams By Langston Hughes

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    I so get it. Dreams are hope to a lot of us. I've heard it said that before you get it you have to dream it. I think when we stop dreaming we stop reaching, and when we stop reaching we stop...

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  7. Mother To Son

    Famous Poem

    Langston Hughes was a prominent writer during the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, a mother uses the metaphor of life being like a staircase to give advice to her son. While there are difficult times, you must keep moving like you would while walking up a staircase.

    in Famous Family Poems

    Well, son, I'll tell you:
    Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
    It's had tacks in it,
    And splinters,

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    I was not a very good student when I was in school. I did the minimal amount of work required, retained little and barely paid attention. In 1965, my 8th grade English teacher read MOTHER TO...

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  8. Caged Bird

    Famous Poem

    Caged Bird By Maya Angelou was first published in her book, "Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?" in 1983. The poem is a Metaphor illustrating the differences between African-Americans and Whites during the civil rights era. The author, a black woman who grew up in the South during this era, is expressing her feelings at the discrimination she faced during her life. Her first autobiography published in 1970 is titled, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Analysis of Form and Technique

    The free bird leaps
    on the back of the wind
    and floats downstream
    till the current ends

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    I remember this poem from my guided reading class in 5th grade. I remember it well. This poem really touched me, and reading it again just made my day. This poem, I remember it being about...

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  9. Life Doesn't Frighten Me

    Famous Poem

    Maya Angelou, an inspirational American poet, crafted a poem from a child’s perspective about all the frightening things in her world. Although this poem showcases many things that frighten a child, the greater theme in this poem is that no matter the obstacles we face in life, we can overcome them. The repetition of “life doesn’t frighten me at all” reinforces that theme.

    in Famous Children Poems

    Shadows on the wall
    Noises down the hall
    Life doesn't frighten me at all

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    I think this is a really good poem because it teaches kids not to give up and hide in the shadows and actually express themselves.

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  10. Equality

    Famous Poem

    Racism and discrimination continue to plague our society, and those themes are clearly seen in this poem by famous poet Maya Angelou. She was not only an author and poet. Maya Angelou was also a civil rights activist. In this poem, she encourages people to keep moving forward. Don’t give up the fight for equality. The repetition of “Equality, and I will be free,” draws the reader’s attention to this poem's important and emotional message.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    You declare you see me dimly
    through a glass which will not shine,
    though I stand before you boldly,
    trim in rank and marking time.

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    Truely inspirational poem. This is the cry of present time that it is the 21st century and people are still struggling for equality, which is far from reach for many.

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  11. I, Too

    Famous Poem

    Langston Hughes (1902-1967) settled in Harlem, New York, in 1924 and was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, he wrote of the reality that faced many in the black community and how they were regarded as “less than” by other people. The poem ends with the hope that one day it would be different. He shared the expectation that those who looked down on them would be ashamed.

    in Famous Poems

    I, too, sing America.

    I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen

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  12. Harlem

    Famous Poem

    We all dream of what we want to experience in life, but what happens when those dreams are put on hold or ignored? That’s what Langston Hughes attempts to answer in this poem. None of the possibilities are positive, making the reader realize the importance of pursuing dreams. Langston Hughes was a key contributor during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. He wrote many poems about what life was like for African Americans.

    in Famous Poems

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?

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    A wonderful poem by Langston Hughes, some dreams drift off with the morning mist, others come through if one persists..... A dream differed is a dream put on hold until the time comes for...

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  13. Long Enough

    • By Curtiss L. Hayes
    • Published by Family Friend Poems December 15, 2022 with permission of the Author.

    in Change Poems

    I’ve been black long enough.

    Long enough to know about the middle passage
    Men, women, children, regardless of age

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  14. Rose Painted

    • By Paige
    • Published by Family Friend Poems June 2015 with permission of the Author.

    This poem was inspired by the movie The Help. The main idea of the poem is how people look at people's skin color and judge them.

    in Metaphor Poems

    If I were a Rose painted black,
    would you cast me aside
    like blackened, burnt rice?
    Would my color tarnish my sweet smell?

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    This was a very true poem! I love the meaning, and it really brings out the idea of discrimination by color and how bad it is. I love it!

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  15. I Had A Dream

    • By Curtiss L. Hayes
    • Published by Family Friend Poems December 15, 2022 with permission of the Author.

    Rhythmic poem suggesting hope in the area of racial relations. Seven stanzas relating different aspects of how this hope is seen and realized in a single person's dream. Personal experience has been that many wish for the same but there are also those who foster continual hatred among the races. This poem is for those who have held on to a measure of hope despite experiences that might lead them to become hopeless.

    in Dream Poems

    I had a dream
    gathered up steam
    and then just kept right on rolling
    That black and white

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  16. Life Is Fine

    Famous Poem

    In this poem, the speaker is considering giving up on life, but he can’t go through with it. He finds that since he hasn’t died, he has something to live for. This poem has a strong sense of structure. It’s made up of single lines and quatrains with the ABCB rhyme scheme.

    in Famous Poems

    I went down to the river,
    I set down on the bank.
    I tried to think but couldn't,
    So I jumped in and sank.

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    Everyone is born for a purpose, but we forget that in pursuit of money. Then God gifted me with poetry and uses it as a medium to educate people, and in each of my poems there is a story...

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  17. Still Here

    Famous Poem

    Langston Hughes (1902-1967) had a lonely childhood, but he was raised by his grandmother who had a love of literature, so Hughes turned to books during those lonely years. This poem shows that even through the hardships of life, it’s possible to keep pushing forward. In this poem, Langston Hughes does not follow the rules of grammar, but that adds to the frazzled feel of the poem’s content.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    I been scarred and battered.
    My hopes the wind done scattered.
    Snow has friz me,
    Sun has baked me,

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    This poem was in a textbook of mine from the sixth grade. As a child, it resonated with me. It inspired me to write poetry. As a child, educated by white folk, I had no idea who Langston...

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  18. I Heard The Voices Scream

    • By Keisha Swafford
    • Published by Family Friend Poems March 2012 with permission of the Author.

    When you read this, dont judge. Just let it sink in your hearts and realize black people aren't just a color. We are so much more than that: We are strong, beautiful, courageous, intelligent, and enduring people. The word "nigger" doesn't define us unless we let it. This is the story of long ago when black people werent treated as equals. As an African American woman, I feel things have gotten better, but I believe Martin Luther King's dream has not been fully fulfilled. Read this and learn from the past so we can make a better future for everyone. God bless and much love Keisha.
    Poem about the Civil Rights Movement By Keisha Swafford and Ronnie Doe

    in Change Poems

    I heard the voices scream
    “Nigger, best shut your mouth.”
    When prejudice ran wild
    While hatred ruled the south

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  19. Let America Be America Again

    Famous Poem

    For many people, it has been a struggle to attain the American dream. Langston Hughes (1902-1967) shares how many groups of people have not been able to experience the America that people dream it to be. They have struggled for freedom and equality. Langston Hughes himself experienced the difficulty of living out his dream of being a writer because it was difficult to earn money in that profession. Although this poem has a very somber feel, hope is presented at the end. Many of the lines in this poem use alliteration (multiple words beginning with the same sound).

    in Famous Poems

    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.

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  20. Miss Rosie

    Famous Poem

    Lucille Clifton was an American poet who lived from 1936-2010. Many of her poems show a theme of having strength through adversity. In this poem, a passerby finds Miss Rosie along the street, and she hurls insult after insult at the homeless lady. But this old lady used to be the most beautiful lady in all of Georgia. The last line of the poem changes the tone that was used at the beginning.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    when I watch you
    wrapped up like garbage
    sitting, surrounded by the smell
    of too old potato peels

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  21. Homage To My Hips

    Famous Poem

    Lucille Clifton was an American poet who lived from 1936-2010. Her poetry celebrates her African American heritage and usually includes feminist themes, which can be seen in this poem. In "Homage to My Hips," she shows she is proud of who she is. She won’t conform to expectations or be held back. That can even be seen in how she chooses not to capitalize the first letter of a new line.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    these hips are big hips
    they need space to
    move around in.
    they don't fit into little

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    Work what you've got and be proud of it. Someone else probably wishes they had what you've got.

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  22. Theme For English B

    Famous Poem

    This poem, published in 1949, is told from the perspective of a young black student who, through a class assignment, takes a look at how he relates and doesn’t relate to his white professor. He is searching for how his experiences can compare to those of his white classmates. However, it goes beyond the issue of race. Any human who has struggled with identity can connect with this poem written by an influential leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

    in Famous Poems

    The instructor said,

    Go home and write
    a page tonight.

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    This poem!! I felt a tug in my heart because it was truly a story of truth from your heart! Very well expressed, and I can't say but one thing more. If we keep our ears open we learn from...

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