Vivian & James by Clive James

What a day it was on June 11, 1963
I stared at challenges that would set me free
Saw others do something I never thought would be
Did it so the whole world could see

A young Black woman and a young Black man
Set into motion a brand new educational plan
That was taboo before their cradle’s hand
But time ripened so they took a revolutionary stand

Laid bare an old way and made it new
Without the spill of blood just mental abuse
Showing to others like me what we could pursue
Demonstrating the stance that must continue

Open the door we are coming in!
We are here to share our intellect and racial blend!
Never to make enemies but create friends!
Offering our best from beginning to end!

Vivian walked with the pride of a self-made heir
James rose to take his place that awaited him there
Both knew the desperation of a race treated unfair
Girded their courage and withstood the threats and dares
Entered the gateway with a political blockade to bear

A blockade that their faith would overturn
What would happen to them was not their concern
So designed to depend on a staying power they earned
The power to harvest and share what they needed to learn

Believing time had come to right an aged–wrong
So, they passed through the portal with a humanistic song
See what we can do as we travel together and together along
A tune Vivian and James flung into the June air while standing strong

They were creating a home- place for me and others
1963, University of Alabama’ glared at their sisters and brothers
Making good on dreams they dared not uncover
A sultry day an old American was no longer a need to discover

The University of Alabama revealed its true creed
Ne’er a place of unconscionable and aged–unjust deeds
But with an entrance that opened to all with a yearning to succeed
No matter their colored skin or assigned heritage-breed

Vivian and James didn’t stop there
Their shield was a constant belief in prayer
One that sustained them to constantly share
That which lifted me and others to better prepare

For the new –found trials we would face
That redesigned the whole Black race
Affording entrance to an inalienable designed place
Vivian and James breathe an air of mystifying grace

So that others like me could withstand the quest
No matter the design of the upcoming test
The walk was easier and left less distress
‘Cause Vivian and James won a one sided contest

They will forever be heroes to people like me
They helped set me and others free
To pursue something we never thought would be
Passing through the doors for the whole world to see

Category: Freedom,