Words of Protest, Words of Freedom

Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement and Era
(Book - 2012)
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Words of Protest, Words of Freedom
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This work is an anthology of poems from the civil rights era, from 1955 until 1975. The poems featured are grouped chronologically around major events of the time, including the Emmett Till lynching, the integration of Little Rock High School, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, and the rise of the Black Panthers.
Title: Words of protest, words of freedom
poetry of the American civil rights movement and era
Publisher: Durham : Duke University Press, ©2012.
Characteristics: xvi, 358 [2] pages ;,25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Notes: "An anthology."
Contents: 11. "Set afire by the cry of / Black Power" : the birth and legacy of the Black Panther Party
The Black mass needs but one crucifixion / Kathleen Cleaver
Apology (to the Panthers) / Lucille Clifton
Revolutionary letter #20 / Diane di Prima
For Angela / Zack Gilbert
May King's prophecy / Allen Ginsberg
Black power (for all the beautiful Black Panthers east) / Nikki Giovanni
Newsletter from my mother : 8:30 a.m., December 8, 1969 / Michael S. Harper
[Let the fault be with the man] / Ericka Huggins
The day the audience walked out on me, and why / Denise Levertov
One sided shoot-out / Haki Madhubuti (Don L. Lee)
Revolutionary suicide / Huey P. Newton
We called him the General / Melvin Newton
The Panther, after Rilke / Craig Randolph Pyes
From "Ghazals : homage to Ghalib" / Adrienne Rich
12. "America, self-destructive, self-betrayed" : the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 4 April 1968
Martin Luther King, Jr. / Gwendolyn Brooks
Riot / Gwendolyn Brooks
The meeting after the savior gone, 4/4/68 / Lucille Clifton
A poem to my brothers killed in combat or something about a conversation with my father after Rev. King was killed / Ebon Dooley
How to change the U.S.A. / Harry Edwards
Reflections on April 4, 1968 / Nikki Giovanni
April 5th / Donald L. Graham
What color? / Nicolás Guillén
Words in the mourning time / Robert Hayden
Rites of passage (to M.L.K., Jr.) / Audre Lorde
Two walls / Robert Lowell
Assassination / Haki Madhubuti
April fourth / Robert Mezey
Martin Luther King, Malcolm X / Muriel Rukeyser
Elegy for Martin Luther King / Léopold Sédar Senghor
Black Thursday / Victor Manuel Rivera Toledo
White weekend (April 5-8, 1968) / Quincy Troupe
Amos, 1963 / Margaret Walker
Amos (postscript, 1968) / Margaret Walker
13. "A gun/struck, as we slept, a caring public man" : the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, 5 June 1968
Assassination raga / Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The assassination / Donald Justice
Season of lovers and assassins / Carolyn Kizer
For Robert Kennedy / Robert Lowell
For Robert Kennedy / Al Purdy
A flower from Robert Kennedy's grave / Edward Sanders
Elegy / Derek Walcott
Freedom to kill / Yevgeny Yevtushenko
14. "Mighty mountains loom before me and I won't stop now" : struggle, survival, and subversion during the civil rights era
Black art / Amiri Baraka
Poem for half white college students / Amiri Baraka
Free world notes / John Beecher
Georgia scene : 1964 / John Beecher
War and silence / Robert Bly
Passive resistance / Margaret Danner
Revolutionary letter #8 / Diane di Prima
Revolutionary letter #9 / Diane di Prima
Freedom rider : washout / James A. Emanuel
Adulthood / Nikki Giovanni
Nikki-Rosa / Nikki Giovanni
Mississippi voter rally / Bruce Hartford
Grenada march #107 / Bruce Hartford
The last river / Galway Kinnell
Poem, small and delible / Carolyn Kizer
Revolutionary mandate 1 / Julius Lester
A note to Olga (1966) / Denise Levertow
For the Union dead / Robert Lowell
Midway / Naomi Long Madgett
Be nobody's darling / Alice Walker.
6. "What we have seen/Has become history, tragedy" : the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 22 November 1963
Belief / A.R. Ammons
Elegy for JFK / W.H. Auden
Formal elegy / John Berryman
The assassination of John F. Kennedy / Gwendolyn Brooks
On not writing an elegy / Richard Frost
At the Brooklyn docks, November 23, 1963 / Dorothy Gilbert
Verba in memoriam / Barbara Guest
Until death do us part / Anselm Hollo
A night picture of Pownal / Barbara Howes
Before the Sabbath / David Ignatow
Jacqueline / Will Inman
Down in Dallas / X.J. Kennedy
In Arlington Cemetery / Stanley Koehler
Four days in November / Marjorie Mir
Sonnet for John-John / Marvin Soloman
Not that hurried grief, for John F. Kennedy / Lorenzo Thomas
November 22, 1963 / Lewis Turco
The gulf / Derek Walcott
7. "Deep in the Mississippi thicket/I hear the mourning dove" : the search for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, 1964
A commemorative ode / John Beecher
Mississippi, 1964 / Marjorie Mir
The book of Job and a draft of a poem to praise the paths of the living / George Oppen
The demonstration / Gregory Orr
Schwerner, Chaney, Goodman / Raymond Patterson
Speech for LeRoi / Armand Schwerner
When Black people are / A.B. Spellman
For Andy Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney / Margaret Walker
8. "We are not beasts and do not/Intend to be beaten" : riots, rebellions, and uprisings, 1964-1971
Riot : 60's / Maya Angelou
Attica, U.S.A. / Keith E. Baird
Finish / Charles Bukowski
Heroes / Karl Carter
Revolutionary letter #3 / Diane di Prima
A mother speaks : the Algiers Motel incident, Detroit / Michael S. Harper
Keep on pushing / David Henderson
Poem against the state (of things) : 1975 / June Jordan
On the birth of my son, Malcolm Coltrane / Julius Lester
The gulf / Denise Levertov
Coming home, Detroit, 1968 / Philip Levine
If we cannot live as people / Charles Lynch
Kuntu / Larry Neal
Watts / Ojenke (Alvin Saxon)
In Orangeburg my brothers did / A.B. Spellman
9. "Prophets were ambushed as they spoke" : the assassination of Malcolm X, 21 February 1965
A poem for Black hearts / Amiri Baraka
For Malcolm : after Mecca / Gerald W. Barrax
Malcolm X (for Dudley Randall) / Gwendolyn Brooks
Judas / Karl Carter
Malcolm / Lucille Clifton
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz / Robert Hayden
Portrait of Malcolm X (for Charles Baxter) / Etheridge Knight
Malcolm X, an autobiography / Larry Neal
At that moment / Raymond Patterson
If blood is black then spirit neglects my unborn son / Conrad Kent Rivers
Malcolm / Sonia Sanchez
For Malcolm who walks in the eyes of our children / Quincy Troupe
For Malcolm X / Margaret Walker
That old time religion / Marvin X
10. "In the panic of hooves, bull whips and gas" : Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march, 1965
Ode to Jimmy Lee / Jim "Arkansas" Benston
The road to Selma / June Brindel
Selma, Alabama, 3/6/65 / Louis Daniel Brodsky
The sun of the future / Thich Nhat Hanh
Race relations / Carolyn Kizer
Alabama centennial / Naomi Long Madgett
On a highway east of Selma, Alabama / Gregory Orr
Crumpled notes (found in a raincoat) on Selma / Maria Varela.
Journey toward freedom
1. "Had she been worth the blood?" : the lynching of Emmett Till, 1955
Remembrance / Rhoda Gaye Ascher
The better sort of people / John Beecher
A Bronzeville mother loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi mother burns bacon / Gwendolyn Brooks
The last quatrain of the ballad of Emmett Till / Gwendolyn Brooks
On the state of the union / Aimé Césaire
Temperate belt : reflections on the mother of Emmett Till / Durward Collins Jr.
Emmett Till / James A. Emanuel
Elegy for Emmett Till / Nicolás Guillén
Mississippi 1955 (to the memory of Emmett Till) / Langston Hughes
Money, Mississippi / Eve Merriam
Salute / Oliver Pitcher
2. "Godfearing citizens/with Bibles, taunts and stones" : the Little Rock crisis, 1957-1958
The Chicago Defender sends a man to Little Rock / Gwendolyn Brooks
Little Rock / Nicolás Guillén
School integration riot / Robert Hayden
My blackness is the beauty of this land / Lance Jeffers
3. "The FBI knows who lynched you" : the murder of Mack Charles Parker, 1959
Poplarville II / Keith E. Baird
Mack C. Parker / Phillip Abbott Luce
For Mack C. Parker / Pauli Murray
Collect for Poplarville / Pauli Murray
4. "Fearless before the waiting throng" the life and death of Medgar Evers
Medgar Evers (for Charles Evers) / Gwendolyn Brooks
American (in memory of Medgar Evers) / R.D. Coleman
For Medgar Evers / David Ignatow
Blues for Medgar Evers / Aaron Kramer
Micah (in memory of Medgar Evers of Mississippi) / Margaret Walker
5. "Under the leaves of hymnals, the plaster and stone" : the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, 15 September 1963
Escort for a president / John Beecher
American history / Michael S. Harper
Here where Coltrane is / Michael S. Harper
Birmingham Sunday / Langston Hughes
Suffer the Children / Audre Lorde
Birmingham 1963 / Raymond Patterson
Ballad of Birmingham / Dudley Randall
Ballad for four children and a president / Edith Segal
September 1963 / Jean Valentine.
Summary: This work is an anthology of poems from the civil rights era, from 1955 until 1975. The poems featured are grouped chronologically around major events of the time, including the Emmett Till lynching, the integration of Little Rock High School, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, and the rise of the Black Panthers.
Local Note: 1 53 118 231
Additional Contributors: Coleman, Jeffrey Lamar
ISBN: 082235103X
Statement of Responsibility: edited by Jeffrey Lamar Coleman
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Subject Headings: American poetry 20th century. Civil rights movements Poetry. Civil rights movements United States History 20th century Poetry.
Topical Term: American poetry
Civil rights movements
Civil rights movements
LCCN: 2011030939
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Apr 12, 2012
  • floy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I didn't like all the chapters equally (I liked the first chapter best) but I was inspired by the book. The authors ranged from people unknown to me to famous poets such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, W.H. Auden, Amiri Baraka, Robert Bly, John Berryman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Sonia Sanchez, and Alice Walker among many others. But what was inspiring to me was the idea of writing poetry about current political events. I have lived through some incredible times and it never really occurred to me to document those times from my own perspective in a poem. I'm going to do more writing because of this book.


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