Thank you to Wee Words for Wee Ones for hosting this week.
We have just launched our new reading theme that highlights human rights issues and social justice or “Voices From The Fringe.” I figured that this is as perfect time as any to feature this book that has been languishing in my bookshelves for quite awhile now.
Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till To Trayvon Martin (Amazon | Book Depository)
Edited and Compiled by: Philip Cushway and Michael Warr
Published by W. W. Norton Company (2016)
ISBN: 0393352730 (ISBN13: 9780393352733). Bought a copy of the book. Book photo taken by me and edited using an iPhone app.
While I confess to not having read the entire book yet, I am definitely marking this on my to-read list for our quarterly reading theme. While there are plenty of poets to choose from, I deliberately searched for a poem written by a female poet of color, Devorah Major. She described her childhood to be one that is surrounded by books and writers and artists (her father being a lover of words and her mother a painter):
I was brought up in a home of activism, raised to know that the quality of people rested in the way they treated other people, the way they treated themselves, and that allowing anything less than freedom and dignity for everyone was accepting the underside of what was human but not humane.
Devorah Major wrote this poem for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner who has been on Death Row since 1982 for the alleged murder of a Philadelphia policeman in 1981.
I highlighted this part that spoke to me most of all: it is filled with righteous anger, yes, but also hope – and the recognition that the struggle is never-ending, and that we surge forward regardless.
As I was drafting this post, I realized that Fats actually featured this same poem from this same book back in 2019 for Poetry Friday. What are the chances? Clearly Devorah Major speaks to our collective female spirit.