[Poetry Friday] February 12, 1963 – Jacqueline Woodson

poetry friday

Fats here.

Happy Friday, everyone! I spent most of this past week trying to recover from an upper respiratory infection—and a root canal surgery to boot! Glad to be out of the misery and happy to join you for Poetry Friday!

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. I have yet to read the book. I came across the poem online and found out where it was taken from.

Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Jone at Check It Out!

February 12, 1963
by Jacqueline Woodson

I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital
Columbus, Ohio,
a country caught
between Black and White.
I am born not long from the time
or far from the place
my great-great-grandparents
worked the deep rich land
dawn till dusk
drank cool water from scooped-out gourds
looked up and followed
the sky’s mirrored constellation
to freedom.
I am born as the South explodes,
too many people too many years
enslaved, then emancipated
but not free, the people
who look like me
keep fighting
and marching
and getting killed
so that today—
February 12, 1963
and every day from this moment on,
brown children like me can grow up
free. Can grow up
learning and voting and walking and riding
wherever we want.
I am born in Ohio but
the stories of South Carolina already run
like rivers
through my veins.


Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

10 comments on “[Poetry Friday] February 12, 1963 – Jacqueline Woodson

  1. It’s a beautiful book. Woodson is an amazing writer. Those stories that “run like rivers in our veins”. They carry such weight, don’t they?


  2. Oh, I highly recommend this book, Fats! It is nourishing and comforting, some of things you may need to keep you heading toward a full recovery. Hope you are feeling tip top soon. =)


  3. I loved “brown girl dreaming” – there’s a passage in which she writes about discovering books with African American characters in her library, and how it just changed her world. Such an inspiring story, and a true call for more diversity in books!


  4. I hope you are feeling better and that you get to read that book soon. Such a terrific book.


  5. Glad you could share after such a yucky week. hope you are feeling much better soon. And brown Girl Dreaming is such a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.


  6. Thank you for sharing. I’ve not read it either. It’s in my basket now.


  7. maryleehahn

    Glad you’re on the mend. I need to re-read this book! What a powerful bit you found to share!


  8. Brown Girl Dreaming is a wonderful book, a memoir and a poetic triumph.


  9. Thanks for sharing this piece from Jacqueline Woodson’s book, “Brown Girl Dreaming.” I too have read passages from it, but not the entire work, and would like to soon! It’s quite timely now with all the turbulence and questions of Freedom in our country today.


  10. Pingback: [Poetry Friday] On Moving and Being the New Girl – Gathering Books

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