Follow the Drinking Gourd
Flag's creator activist Ben Haith in 1997.
The poetry presented during our program and here are the sole possession of the poets, selected as contest winners. Our winners were awarded cash prizes, certificates of recognition, NAACP Juneteenth T-Shirts and gifted Youth Memberships to the West Chester branch of the NAACP.
From the motherland to the land of the free on which I stand Eager to reap the fruits Of this so called promise land. With youth on my belt And opportunity at my side Fulfillment seems infinite-
Yes, it hardly plagues my mind That the pigment of my skin Black, ebony Carries the weight of 400 years Forever considered the American enemy.
The weight that keeps me home on Friday nights While that youth fades to grey A weight that causes some to look And quickly turn their bigoted eyes away The weight that transformed a skittle pack into a gun Murdered a jogger with no absolution A weight that turned a twenty dollar bill Into a public execution A weight that captivates the majority Who prefers prejudice over knowledge A weight that has me staying away from regions To ensure my safety at college.
A weight that endured acid-filled pools Trauma-inducing jokes A weight that raced inside before sundown Hiding from pointy hoods and white cloaks. A weight that wove through slaves’ bones Building this nation through agonizing pain Now pushed to the ghettos, the bottom Every “reparation” just a play for political gain. Yes, it hardly evokes much thought Because of the Great Compromise- don’t shoot!- I know the deeper meaning: It’s the small price to pay When considered 3/5ths of a human being.
Your skin is beauty, Shine in the sun, There is only one you. When people make fun of The skin they want that they can’t have Your hair is lovely Curly and young. People try and steal your hair. That they can’t have Your hair is unique and silky Curly and fun People mock your color and hair But you ignore You know they are trying To look and be you You stay confident You are proud.
A problem that occurs Is some racial slurs. You try to ignore But sometimes you’re on the floor. You try to stand tall But the people make sure you fall. Are you still proud? Yes That’s the answer you stick with Because you know that you are proud. You think it’s not right That people still separate blacks and whites Even though they know it isn’t right.
Society makes race look like predator But we are also unheard. We still have hate crimes. Its seems like it’s not common They are trying to make us forgotten. We stand up proud with our heads up Standing our ground. But we are still proud.
James Weldon Johnson, a talented poet & novelist, set a high standard of artistry & realism to Black literature
Amanda S. C. Gorman youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. An American poet and activist.
Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:
He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.
Oration, Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester by Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852
"My art is a calibration of lives past for their contribution to the human experience. Although many of the people I paint are not famous or well known, deep in our souls we connect to them. They lived their lives as we live now, and they have been where we are yet to go."
Dane E. Tilghman
Dane E. Tilghman, a West Chester native, born in 1957, is one of America’s most sought-after African American visual artists.
"Money is ok, but it isnʼt what life is about. Life is about Living it. Living it straight out."
Jeff Schaller's Blog
He was wounded in 1918 and discharged with a partially paralyzed right arm. He settled in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and eventually began to paint by burning designs into wood panels with a red-hot poker and then painting in the outlined areas.