Favorite Poems of
For My People
By Alice WalkerFor my people everywhere singing their slave songs repeatedly, their dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, saying their prayers nightly to an unknown God, bending their knees humbly to an unseen power;
For my people lending their strength to the years, to the gone years and the now years and the maybe years washing ironing cooking scrubbing sewing mending hoeing plowing digging dragging along never gaining never reaping never knowing and never understanding;
For my playmates in the clay and dust and sands of Alabama backyards playing baptizing and preacher and doctor and jail and school and playhouse and Miss Choomby and hair and company;
For the cramped bewildered years we went to school to learn to know the reasons why and the answers to and the people who and the places where and the days when, in memory of the bitter hours when we discovered we were black and poor and small and different and nobody wondered and nobody understood;
For the boys and girls who grew in spite of these things to be men and women, to marry their playmates and bear children and then die of consumption and anemia and lynching;
For my people thronging 47th Street in Chicago, Lenox Avenue in New York and Rampart Street in New Orleans, a lost disinherited, dispossessed and happy people filling the cabarets and taverns and other people s pockets needing bread and land and milk and shoes and money, and something, something all our own;
For my people floundering and groping in the dark of churches and schools and clubs and societies, associations and conventions, a distraught and disturbed people being devoured and preyed on by money-hungry, glory-craving leeches, preyed on by fad and novelty, by false prophet and holy believer;
For my people dancing when happy, drinking when hopeless, shouting when burdened, tied shackled and tangled among ourselves by the unseen creatures who tower over us omnisciently and laugh;
For my people standing staring trying to fashion a better way from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding, trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people all the faces all the Adams and Eves and their countless generations;
Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a peace be written in the sky. Let a people loving freedom come to growth. Let a generation full of courage issue forth. Let freedom be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs be written; let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control!
This is another poem I often closed out my speeches with. Again, this poem depicts my fathers knowledge of the plight of his people and his determination to lead them out of bondage.
Juanita Evangeline Moore
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