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They Want Me to Wear Different Skin[1]

The Hurt Black of our Skin is Forbidden[2]

We see Nothing in our Dark men but a Vast Engine of Labor[3]

First Man to Die for the Flag we now Hold High was a Black Man[4]

Suppose each Skin had it’s National Crimes Written upon it ­­– when I Cast

My Eye upon that White Skin I should enter my Protest upon it Immediately[5]

Black men will always get Lynched but they stopped using Ropes a long time ago[6]

Whence comes this New Wealth?... It comes Primarily from the Darker Nations of the World[7]

Below the Surface, in Murky Waters of Fetid Tenements, a City of Black people Convulsed

In Desperate Living – like the Voracious Churnings of Millions of Hungry Cannibal Fish[8]

When the Old Junk Man Death comes to gather our Bodies and toss them into the

Sack of Oblivion – I wonder if he’ll find the Corpse of a White Multi-Millionaire

Worth more Pennies of Eternity than the Black Torso of a Negro Cotton-Picker[9]

When some do not Survive to be Counted, I Count the Holes

They Leave – I reach for Black folks & Touch only Air[10]

[1] Hussam Al Rassam, quoted by Haifa Zangana in Songs of Iraqi Resistance

[2] Gwendolyn Brooks, The Near-Johannesburg Boy

[3] Olive Schreiner, The Native Question

[4] Stevie Wonder, Black Man

[5] William Apess, An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man

[6] Nile Lansana & Onam Lansana, Lesson one

[7] W.E.B. Du Bois, quoted by Howard Zinn in A People’s History of the United States

[8] Chester Himes, A Rage in Harlem

[9] Langston Hughes, Question

[10] Danez Smith, Dear White America

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