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Significance of August 1

Updated on December 9, 2011

Salutation to Emancipation Day

One hundred and seventy three years since we were freed from chattel slavery.

Almost two centuries of recounting and continuing the work that was started.

Six generations of separation from the victimization of our great, great grandmothers;

Still, we wear the scars that our great, great grandfathers bore on their backs.

Scarred from the hatred that was meted out for defending their survival;

Collectively we wake up screaming from their pain.

Scars that are manifested in poverty and self loathing;

Paradoxically, their pain has fostered beauty, strength and aspirations;

Their pain has propelled the hopes, dreams, determination, anger, frustrations, bravery, genius and forgiveness

Seen in the lives of Nat Turner, Tackey, Bussa, Harriet Tubman, Robert Smalls, Cudjoe, Nanny of the Maroons, Sojourner truth, Cuffy, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Mary Prince, Samuel Sharpe, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Frederick Douglas, Booker T Washington, W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Kwame Ture and countless unsung heroes and heroines.

Some we revere because they were revolutionary moderates;

Others ostracize because they were revolutionary radicals.

All have written the course of our history with indelible ink;

Blasting out doors and windows of opportunities where none existed before.

They sacrificed their lives to resist the Redcoats, Jim Crow, the three Ks and lynch mobs.

They laid the foundations for a better life for future generations.

Salutation to our heroes and heroines who have unselfishly given their lives

To make this world a better place for all.

Thank you for negotiating our legal, civil and intellectual rights;

Because of your efforts, we can be free to resist hatred against our bodies and minds.

While the remnant of hate and ignorance sometimes raises its head;

We stand proudly on your shoulders;

We can’t be complacent; there’s much more to be done!

So, we soldier onwards, always acknowledging that the war was already won.

Written August1, 2011



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    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      manthy, thanks for your visit and your comment. I appreciate your feedback.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Anna, thanks for your visit and kind appreciation. I wish you all the best for your presentation. You are welcome to share this poem at your Youth Summit.

      I absolutely agree with you that knowledge is empowering. Our youth must be educated about their past so that they can take pride in the work that our foreparents have done for us.

      I too have returned to college and over the past year have learned so much about my history; my perspectives about many things have been changed.

      Thanks for your vote.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      dashingclaire, thanks for your visit and your comment. I appreciate your positive response.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Very well done

    • profile image

      Anna 6 years ago

      Thank you for this writing. I was pleasantly surprised to see it. Absolutely Amazing!!!!!!! There is Youth Summit coming up in near the end of this month where I will be speaking to the youth and I would like very much to share this with them. There is power in knowledge and education is vital to the survival and forward moment of my young brothers and sisters as never before. Even at my age I decided to return to college, for the long overdue degree, because knowledge is power...I love this. I have voted it up, awesome, interesting and useful

    • dashingclaire profile image

      dashingclaire 6 years ago from United States

      Awesome! voted up