Black History Month

Published: February 2020

Poems For Black History Month

25 Poems For 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.

1 - 20 of 25

    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.

    Still I Rise

    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.

    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.

    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I'll rise.

    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
    Weakened by my soulful cries.

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don't you take it awful hard
    'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
    Diggin' in my own back yard.

    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I'll rise.

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I've got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?

    Out of the huts of history's shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that's rooted in pain
    I rise
    I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.

    Still I Rise By Maya Angelou

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (12 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    "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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    Maya Angelou (1928-2014) uses symbolism and strong imagery in this poem to show a person’s response to loss. It doesn’t matter how strong or tough you are; when an influential person in your life passes away, you feel the effects. Although this poem does show that we experience regrets with things left unsaid, our lives are made better by that person's influence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Maya Angelou’s birthday (April 4) in 1968, and his death deeply affected her. In fact, she stopped celebrating her own birthday for many years.

    When Great Trees Fall

    in Famous Death Poems

    When great trees fall,
    rocks on distant hills shudder,
    lions hunker down
    in tall grasses,
    and even elephants
    lumber after safety.

    When great trees fall
    in forests,
    small things recoil into silence,
    their senses
    eroded beyond fear.

    When great souls die,
    the air around us becomes
    light, rare, sterile.
    We breathe, briefly.
    Our eyes, briefly,
    see with
    a hurtful clarity.
    Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
    examines,
    gnaws on kind words
    unsaid,
    promised walks
    never taken.

    Great souls die and
    our reality, bound to
    them, takes leave of us.
    Our souls,
    dependent upon their
    nurture,
    now shrink, wizened.
    Our minds, formed
    and informed by their
    radiance,
    fall away.
    We are not so much maddened
    as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
    of dark, cold
    caves.

    And when great souls die,
    after a period peace blooms,
    slowly and always
    irregularly. Spaces fill
    with a kind of
    soothing electric vibration.
    Our senses, restored, never
    to be the same, whisper to us.
    They existed. They existed.
    We can be. Be and be
    better. For they existed.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (11 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    I have also lost a son, a baby boy. Back then I was very grieved by that experience. I was told by people that loved me and helped support me to quickly heal and get over the way I felt, even...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    Advertisement

    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.

    Phenomenal Woman

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    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.
    I say,
    It's in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It's the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can't touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can't see.
    I say,
    It's in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I'm a woman

    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head's not bowed.
    I don't shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It's in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    'Cause I'm a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (12 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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,...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    When we are small, our mothers are everything to us. Her arms were made to cradle us and provide for all our needs. At first, we don’t want to be separated from her. As time passes, a mother helps us become more independent. Even in our teenage years, we still love our mother even though we don’t show it well, and we finally come to realize the wisdom she has. This is a great Mother’s Day poem that thanks her for her guidance and unconditional love. No matter our stage of life, whether an infant, young child, teenager, or adult, our mother’s love for us is unconditional.

    Mother, A Cradle To Hold Me

    in Famous Family Poems

    It is true
    I was created in you.
    It is also true
    That you were created for me.
    I owned your voice.
    It was shaped and tuned to soothe me.
    Your arms were molded
    Into a cradle to hold me, to rock me.
    The scent of your body was the air
    Perfumed for me to breathe.

    Mother,
    During those early, dearest days
    I did not dream that you had
    A large life which included me,
    For I had a life
    Which was only you.

    Time passed steadily and drew us apart.
    I was unwilling.
    I feared if I let you go
    You would leave me eternally.
    You smiled at my fears, saying
    I could not stay in your lap forever.

    That one day you would have to stand
    And where would I be?
    You smiled again.
    I did not.
    Without warning you left me,
    But you returned immediately.
    You left again and returned,
    I admit, quickly,
    But relief did not rest with me easily.
    You left again, but again returned.
    You left again, but again returned.
    Each time you reentered my world
    You brought assurance.
    Slowly I gained confidence.

    You thought you know me,
    But I did know you,
    You thought you were watching me,
    But I did hold you securely in my sight,
    Recording every moment,
    Memorizing your smiles, tracing your frowns.
    In your absence
    I rehearsed you,
    The way you had of singing
    On a breeze,
    While a sob lay
    At the root of your song.

    The way you posed your head
    So that the light could caress your face
    When you put your fingers on my hand
    And your hand on my arm,
    I was blessed with a sense of health,
    Of strength and very good fortune.

    You were always
    the heart of happiness to me,
    Bringing nougats of glee,
    Sweets of open laughter.

    During the years when you knew nothing
    And I knew everything, I loved you still.
    Condescendingly of course,
    From my high perch
    Of teenage wisdom.
    I grew older and
    Was stunned to find
    How much knowledge you had gleaned.
    And so quickly.

    Mother, I have learned enough now
    To know I have learned nearly nothing.
    On this day
    When mothers are being honored,
    Let me thank you
    That my selfishness, ignorance, and mockery
    Did not bring you to
    Discard me like a broken doll
    Which had lost its favor.
    I thank you that
    You still find something in me
    To cherish, to admire and to love.

    I thank you, Mother.
    I love you.

    Poem Details

    Share your story!

    Advertisement

    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!

    Human Family

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

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

    Some declare their lives are lived
    as true profundity,
    and others claim they really live
    the real reality.

    The variety of our skin tones
    can confuse, bemuse, delight,
    brown and pink and beige and purple,
    tan and blue and white.

    I've sailed upon the seven seas
    and stopped in every land,
    I've seen the wonders of the world
    not yet one common man.

    I know ten thousand women
    called Jane and Mary Jane,
    but I've not seen any two
    who really were the same.

    Mirror twins are different
    although their features jibe,
    and lovers think quite different thoughts
    while lying side by side.

    We love and lose in China,
    we weep on England's moors,
    and laugh and moan in Guinea,
    and thrive on Spanish shores.

    We seek success in Finland,
    are born and die in Maine.
    In minor ways we differ,
    in major we're the same.

    I note the obvious differences
    between each sort and type,
    but we are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    We are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    We are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (11 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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.

    Dreams

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

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

    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.

    Dreams By Langston Hughes

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (3 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    Everyone needs people beside them through the journey of life. It's not meant to be something to do alone. Even the richest people who are able to buy whatever they need still need people to walk along with them, or they will begin to feel lonely. No amount of money is able to buy the support and care of others. We learn from this poem by Maya Angelou how important it is to develop strong relationships.

    Alone

    in Famous Friendship Poems

    Lying, thinking
    Last night
    How to find my soul a home
    Where water is not thirsty
    And bread loaf is not stone
    I came up with one thing
    And I don’t believe I’m wrong
    That nobody,
    But nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Alone, all alone
    Nobody, but nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    There are some millionaires
    With money they can't use
    Their wives run round like banshees
    Their children sing the blues
    They've got expensive doctors
    To cure their hearts of stone.
    But nobody
    No, nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Alone, all alone
    Nobody, but nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Now if you listen closely
    I'll tell you what I know
    Storm clouds are gathering
    The wind is gonna blow
    The race of man is suffering
    And I can hear the moan,
    'Cause nobody,
    But nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Alone, all alone
    Nobody, but nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (1 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    I strongly agree with Maya Angelou. Her poem reflects a timely theme. At any age a person might suffer due to loneliness, but worse in the old age. Then one needs physical as well as...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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"

    Caged Bird

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    The free bird leaps
    on the back of the wind
    and floats downstream
    till the current ends
    and dips his wings
    in the orange sun rays
    and dares to claim the sky.

    But a bird that stalks
    down his narrow cage
    can seldom see through
    his bars of rage
    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with fearful trill
    of the things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill for the caged bird
    sings of freedom

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
    and he names the sky his own.

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (5 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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.

    Mother To Son

    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,
    And boards torn up,
    And places with no carpet on the floor-
    Bare.
    But all the time
    I'se been a-climbin' on,
    And reachin' landin's,
    And turnin' corners,
    And sometimes goin' in the dark
    Where there ain't been no light.
    So, boy, don't you turn back.
    Don't you set down on the steps.
    'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
    Don't you fall now-
    For I'se still goin', honey,
    I'se still climbin',
    And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (7 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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.

    Life Doesn't Frighten Me

    in Famous Children Poems

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

    Bad dogs barking loud
    Big ghosts in a cloud
    Life doesn't frighten me at all

    Mean old Mother Goose
    Lions on the loose
    They don't frighten me at all

    Dragons breathing flame
    On my counterpane
    That doesn't frighten me at all.

    I go boo
    Make them shoo
    I make fun
    Way they run
    I won't cry
    So they fly
    I just smile
    They go wild

    Life doesn't frighten me at all.

    Tough guys fight
    All alone at night
    Life doesn't frighten me at all.

    Panthers in the park
    Strangers in the dark
    No, they don't frighten me at all.

    That new classroom where
    Boys all pull my hair
    (Kissy little girls
    With their hair in curls)
    They don't frighten me at all.

    Don't show me frogs and snakes
    And listen for my scream,
    If I'm afraid at all
    It's only in my dreams.

    I've got a magic charm
    That I keep up my sleeve
    I can walk the ocean floor
    And never have to breathe.

    Life doesn't frighten me at all
    Not at all
    Not at all.

    Life doesn't frighten me at all.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (3 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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.

    Share your story!

    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.

    Rose Painted

    • By Paige
    • Published: June 2015
    Poem About Skin Color

    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?

    If I were a Rose painted black,
    would the richness of my ebony petals
    make me unworthy
    of being called
    a Rose?

    If I were a Rose painted white,
    would my ivory petals be worth more than silver?
    Would my sweet smell captivate
    a room welcomingly?

    If I were just a Rose,
    sweet-smelling and vibrant
    and your mind was blind...
    would my color matter?

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (4 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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!

    Share your story!

    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.

    Equality

    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.
    You do own to hear me faintly
    as a whisper out of range,
    while my drums beat out the message
    and the rhythms never change.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    You announce my ways are wanton,
    that I fly from man to man,
    but if I'm just a shadow to you,
    could you ever understand?

    We have lived a painful history,
    we know the shameful past,
    but I keep on marching forward,
    and you keep on coming last.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    Take the blinders from your vision,
    take the padding from your ears,
    and confess you've heard me crying,
    and admit you've seen my tears.

    Hear the tempo so compelling,
    hear the blood throb in my veins.
    Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
    and the rhythms never change.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (3 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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.

    Share your story!

    Aging can be a tricky topic, one that’s difficult for people to navigate. Famous poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014) shares her thoughts on this topic. Although the speaker knows her body doesn’t work quite like it used to, she doesn’t want to be treated differently. Even though her body has changed, she is still the same person she used to be, and she doesn’t allow aging to bring her down. She still has value and the ability to live a full life. Maya Angelou was a very influential person, and her writing exudes confidence and authenticity.

    On Aging

    in Famous Family Poems

    When you see me sitting quietly,
    Like a sack left on the shelf,
    Don’t think I need your chattering.
    I’m listening to myself.
    Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
    Hold! Stop your sympathy!
    Understanding if you got it,
    Otherwise I’ll do without it!
    When my bones are stiff and aching,
    And my feet won’t climb the stair,
    I will only ask one favor:
    Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
    When you see me walking, stumbling,
    Don’t study and get it wrong.
    ‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
    And every goodbye ain’t gone.
    I’m the same person I was back then,
    A little less hair, a little less chin,
    A lot less lungs and much less wind.
    But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (1 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    Reading this poem was very heartfelt and personal. Maya Angelou has always been my favorite author of all times, but reading this particular poem reminds me of my grandmother who I was lucky...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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.

    Life Is Fine

    in Famous Life 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.

    I came up once and hollered!
    I came up twice and cried!
    If that water hadn't a-been so cold
    I might've sunk and died.

    But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

    I took the elevator
    Sixteen floors above the ground.
    I thought about my baby
    And thought I would jump down.

    I stood there and I hollered!
    I stood there and I cried!
    If it hadn't a-been so high
    I might've jumped and died.

    But it was High up there! It was high!

    So since I'm still here livin',
    I guess I will live on.
    I could've died for love—
    But for livin' I was born

    Though you may hear me holler,
    And you may see me cry—
    I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
    If you gonna see me die.

    Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (1 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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.

    Still Here

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

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

    Looks like between 'em they done
    Tried to make me

    Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
    But I don't care!
    I'm still here!

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (1 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

    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).

    Let America Be America Again

    in Famous Life 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.

    (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,
    America!

    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!

    Poem Details

    Share your story!

    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.

    Homage To My Hips

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    these hips are big hips
    they need space to
    move around in.
    they don't fit into little
    petty places. these hips
    are free hips.
    they don't like to be held back.
    these hips have never been enslaved,
    they go where they want to go
    they do what they want to do.
    these hips are mighty hips.
    these hips are magic hips.
    i have known them
    to put a spell on a man and
    spin him like a top!

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (1 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

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

    Share your story!

    Growing up as a young black girl, even in this day and age, is hard. You easily get judged or criticized because of the colour of your skin. Or maybe because of your accent. It gets so bad that even people of a mature age, who should know better, end up calling us coloured children or insulting the type of hair we have.
    This poem isn't only for black people; it's for everyone and anyone. I hope this poem speaks to you as it did when I wrote it. Let us have a change of heart. God Bless!

    Peace To Me

    • By Esther Ayisire
    • Published: April 2015
    Poem Dreaming For A World Without Racism

    in Dream Poems by Teens

    When I think of peace, I see myself in a world where I can truly be myself,
    Who I choose to be, where I can just let go and be comfortable with who I am

    A world with no hatred, racism, or pain
    A world where no one is judged or criticized
    A place with equality and value of people's lives
    A time of joy and togetherness, where no one is thought as of good or evil

    Where creed or colour is not looked at as right or wrong, good, or bad
    Where no one is offensive, cruel, or rude
    A place that makes it possible to stay in a good mood

    When I think of peace, I see a gentle wave lapping up a beach
    The smile shared between a mother and her child
    The silence of peace and quiet, the lack of hatred, war, and riots

    One day nations will come together and be as one
    Just as the Lord wanted it to be
    We are all one people
    Put together in one world

    When I think of peace, I see a better world...for all of us

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (2 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    Preach preacher, preach. As an African American girl, I say this: We want peace! We want peace! We want peace!

    Share your story!

    The strength of a mother is as the power of thousands who stand behind her.

    Mother

    • By Mitchell M. Gissendanner
    • Published: February 2006
    Powerful Woman Poem

    in Mother Poems

    Black, beautiful, intuitive, and strong,
    The matriarch, the stabilizer, the Earth's backbone.
    From the beginning she excels, determined to survive.
    In her womb the seed of trillions through the ages she will provide.
    Unfazed by obstacles, perpetual is her drive.
    Kings, queens, all royalty alike
    are inherently in her bloodline.
    Against all odds she presses on.
    Not a moment does her love wane.
    She looks down through the annals of time
    And realizes she must maintain
    Her aura of invincibility, her spirit of strong will,
    Her disposition of I will succeed
    Regardless of the mountainous hills.
    She is black, bold and beautiful.
    Her strength personified from birth,
    She is the matriarch, she is our mother,
    the backbone of the earth

    Poem Details

    Share your story!

    A poem written in tribute to a great and noble woman: a great-grandmother who has seen and suffered much and is full of love and strength.

    Great-Grandmother, A Beautiful Woman

    • By Jacquia Lindsay
    • Published: February 2006
    Tribute Poem To A Great Grandmother

    in Grandmother Poems

    Strong, beautiful black woman, so peaceful and serene,
    You deserve to live in Paradise and shown the finer things.
    Life has dealt you plenty of cards, some winning, others bad,
    And tides have brought in waves of memories: both happy and sad.
    Gracious, beautiful black woman, so wonderful and divine,
    You've endured many heartaches - oh, the world is so unkind!
    Your speech is confident, your eyes are soft, and your walk is hard and bold.
    Your laugh equals happiness, your heart contains love and hides the stories untold.
    Tired, beautiful black woman, so patient and so calm,
    It's funny how you hold the family's fear within your palm!
    With wrinkles, stress, and worn-torn hands, tell me how do you smile so...
    When you've traveled this long, endured all this pain, and still have miles to go.
    Blessed, beautiful black woman, so collected and confident,
    I can't imagine a gift greater than you - your love is heaven sent.
    Don't you dare give up now, just stay strong, your reward is comin'...
    Strong, courageous, gracious, blessed, and beautiful black woman.

    Poem Details

    Share your story! (5 Stories )

    Latest Shared Story

    I hope you don't mind that I shared this poem with a Great Grandmother in our church, she has custody of her two great grandchildren, one of them is 8 and the other is just born 3 months...

    Read complete story

    Share your story!

Advertisement

Advertisement

1 - 20 of 25

Back to Top