By Brennan Dumesnil-Vickers
Graphic By Rin Boegel
In a month where we honor Black history, it’s only fair to incorporate some amazing poems. Since the beginning of the written word, poetry has been a fantastic way to express thoughts and feelings. The Acalanes Union High School District’s Black History Month event for Monday, February 16 was to share some poems reflecting on the theme of racial justice and equality, some from prestigious names such as Langston Hughes and Allen Ginsberg.
This comes just weeks after Amanda Gorman, a Black woman, became the youngest to ever read an inaugural poem, doing so at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Others who have read inaugural poems include household names like Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Gorman’s poem, titled “The Hill We Climb,” received praise from household names like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It touched on the ideas that this nation isn’t broken – just unfinished, we’ve come so far already, and we will be united. To see her speaking at a presidential inauguration, doing it flawlessly, and receiving praise from some of the most famous people in the country, must have empowered Black women across America.
But that’s not all – Gorman also performed at one of the nation’s biggest annual events, the Super Bowl. She recited “Chorus of the Captains” which highlighted James Martin, Trimaine Davis, and Suzie Dorner, the honorary captains chosen by the NFL prior to the game for their heroism. Gorman is only twenty-two years old, and it will be amazing to see how far she goes.
There are some more great poems by Black poets showcased on the Las Lomas website. The first one is “Freedom” by Langston Hughes, whose name most people have heard before. Its main theme is that change can’t come if we “trust the process” and assume that it’ll arrive if we wait long enough; we have to take action.
Another one, “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall, tells the story of a mother who instructs her child not to go to a Freedom March in Birmingham. The child goes anyway, and after hearing an explosion the mother cannot find her child. A very sad story, and even sadder upon realizing that that is a reality for many Black mothers and children fighting for their freedom.
Dozens more poems on the theme of racial justice and equality are available in the Black History month calendar on the Las Lomas website.