Articles, poems and other items about Canada, the USA, Central and South America.
One hundred years ago, an arts movement was forming in a mainly-black district of New York City. Later known as the Harlem Renaissance, it was primarily cultural but also inescapably political. Literature, poetry, jazz, theatre, sculpture and more articulated the lives and demands of African-Americans no longer willing to be grateful that they were no longer enslaved.
O black and unknown bards of long ago.
How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?
How, in your darkness, did you come to know
The power and beauty of the minstrel’s lyre?
Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes?
Who first from out the still watch, lone and long.
Feeling the ancient faith of prophets rise
Within his dark-kept soul, burst into song?
James Weldon Johnson
He was socially close, untamed, unmasked
His magic medicine uncasked
He didn't care so he never asked
He'll brush it off, he's so athletic
The tough guy, leading man aesthetic
No chance it makes him empathetic
He'll rise above like Kilimanjaro
Always survive like the Cult of Skaro
Covid can't hurt Bolsonaro
on the top
of the head
of the cop
with his knee
on the neck
of the man
on the floor
by the pass-
Who said please
I can't breathe
and who called
for his mum
bore the knee
and the weight
and the hate
of the cop
It wasn't the Stonewall focus group
or the Stonewall business case
It wasn't the Stonewall let's-present-
Long years of asking nicely had not
got us anywhere
Our rulers did not hear us when
we whispered: it's not fair
So when re-writers try to say
we won by being quiet
Remind them of our history -
that Stonewall was a riot