Black is the first nail I ever stepped on;
Black the hand that dried my tears.
Black is the first old man I ever noticed;
Black the burden of his years.
Black is waiting in the darkness;
Black the ground where hoods have lain.
Black is the sorrow-misted story;
Black the brotherhood of pain.
Black is quiet iron door;
Black the path that leads behind.
Black is a detour through the year;
Black the diary of the mind.
Black is Gabriel Prosser’s knuckles;
Black Sojourner’s naked breast.
Black is a schoolgirl’s breathless mother;
Black her child who led the rest.
Black is the purring of a motor;
Black the foot when the light turns green.
Black is last year’s dusty paper;
Black the headlines yet unseen.
Black is a burden bravely chanted:
Black cross of sweat for a nation’s rise.
Black is a boy who knows his heroes;
Black the way a hero dies…