Summer Syllabus (Part II)

Mama, we made it!

As Summer 2020 draws to a close, let’s celebrate the resilience and ingenuity of Blackness. Here are seven poems and short stories by black writers to remind you that existence is resistance.

Happy reading!

“Affirmation” by Assata Shakur

I have been locked by the lawless.

Handcuffed by the haters.Gagged by the greedy.

And, if i know any thing at all,

it’s that a wall is just a wall

and nothing more at all.

It can be broken down.

READ FULL TEXT HERE

“If We Must Die” by Claude McKay

What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

READ FULL TEXT HERE

“Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston

“Taint no law on earth dat kin make a man be decent if it aint in ‘im.”

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“The Comet” by WEB Du Bois

They stared a moment in silence. She had not noticed before that he was a Negro… Of all the sorts of men she had pictured as coming to her rescue she had not dreamed of one like him. Not that he was not human, but he dwelt in a world so far from hers, so infinitely far, that he seldom even entered her thought.

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“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes

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.

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“Recitatif” by Toni Morrison

“Well, it is a free country.”
“Not yet, but it will be.”
“What the hell does that mean? I’m not doing anything to you.”
“You really think that?”
“l know it.”
“l wonder what made me think you were different.”
“l wonder what made me think you were different.”

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“Be Nobody’s Darling” by Alice Walker

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,

READ FULL TEXT HERE

Published by Shamecca Harris

NYC-Based Creative Writer and Teaching Artist