Scholars Celebrate Black History Month

At Zion Benton Township High School
Scholars and staff turned to creative writing to express their thoughts. Below is a poem written by Scholar Coach, Immanuel Greene.

Genesis and Exodus 
by Immanuel Greene, Scholar Coach

I want to tell you a story about my heritage
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time...


Thrice upon a time and then twice upon that time
And then some, there were a people…
A great many people
A people without a land
Wanderers in captivity
Captive to lay in bondage

Once upon a time…
There was a crying "country"
A cry silenced
By the porcelain hand of civilization

Once upon a time…
There was a motherless cry
An unsettled sadness exacerbated
Poked and prodded

A barren mother
Stripped of her children
A land "settled"
A motherland, a captivity,
A bondage, a wanderer, a people

This is where my story starts...
At least according to the books I read
And the TV I watch and the ads I see

Apparently I live implicitly of the white
There is no black without white
There is no darkness without light
But not the other way around

Though I do know of a book that says "In the beginning" blah blah blah "the earth was without form and darkness was over the face of the deep" and then *skipping forward* God said let there be light. The word "then" (if you didn't know) is an adverb defined by Webster as "subsequent or soon after" so there was something before...
But I suppose that book is only used when justifying violence

My history starts with the crack of the whip
My history begins with the discovery of a continent

My history is kicked off by the Berlin conference
And the scramble to discover an exotic place...
Somehow already inhabited by people

My history  begins…
But when I tell you about it…
I fudge the details because…
Just between you and me...
I don't really know where my family starts

I would love to be Guatemalan and to be the descendants of Mayans: Brilliant scientists and mathematicians.
To be the seed of the builders of mega cities
I would love to have towering monuments to my success still standing after 4,000 years of conquest and Mother Nature.

But my history starts with Once upon a boat

I would love to hail from China where the Xia, Shang, Zhou, and Qing dynasties ruled
Where inventions were conjured
Where music was influenced and danced about your eardrum, striking new vibrations in your head
Where food was inspired
Where a different sense of beauty and being is infused
I would love for my story to start with once upon a time in a palace

But my history starts with once upon a slave castle

I would love for my history to begin with once upon a time in Egypt
Where written language is incubated
Once upon a golden chamber
Once upon a creation of paper
Once upon a pyramid
Once upon geometry
Once upon surgery

But instead I am a color
A race marked with sin
An ethnicity representative of a continent not a country.
African American,

Once upon a time…
In a land far away…
There were a powerful people…
That built their cities on their backs.
A people with a home…
A motherland with her people…
A people with their riches…
A people free from oppression…

I like the sound of that

Let's try:
Once upon a time there were black people.
Once upon a time I had my mule and 2 acres
Once upon a time Apartheid was not right
Once upon a time I wasn't articulate because I was black.
I wasn't impressive because I could read.
I wasn't admitted because I could write

Twice upon a time there were black people
Twice upon a time there was me and there was you
Twice upon a time mighty armies patrolled the land and sea and
Twice upon that time the mighty Zulu staved off the British Invasion
Thrice upon a time there were black people
Thrice upon a time their diamonds brought wealth to the poor
Thrice upon a time my culture was enough and
Thrice upon that time there my civility was not challenged

Once upon a time there were black people…

But my history starts with
Once upon a time there was light
And the light was good.


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