From the editor: America

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Growing up, you’d be hard pressed to find me without some kind of writing utensil in my hand. I have loved to read and write for as long as I can remember, especially when it comes to poetry. Like any art, my writing is inspired by the writers that came before me. This week, I’d like to share my favorite poem by Langston Hughes. It was written in 1935 and is very much relevant today.

Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.


Let it be the dream it used to be.


Let it be the pioneer on the plain


Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—


Let it be that great strong land of love


Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme


That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty


Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,


But opportunity is real, and life is free,


Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,


Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?


And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,


I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.


I am the red man driven from the land,


I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—


And finding only the same old stupid plan


Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,


Tangled in that ancient endless chain


Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!


Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!


Of work the men! Of take the pay!


Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.


I am the worker sold to the machine.


I am the Negro, servant to you all.


I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—


Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—

O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,


The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream


In the Old World while still a serf of kings,


Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,


That even yet its mighty daring sings


In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned


That's made America the land it has become.


O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas


In search of what I meant to be my home—


For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,


And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,


And torn from Black Africa's strand I came


To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?


Surely not me? The millions on relief today?


The millions shot down when we strike?


The millions who have nothing for our pay?


For all the dreams we've dreamed


And all the songs we've sung


And all the hopes we've held


And all the flags we've hung,


The millions who have nothing for our pay—


Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—


The land that never has been yet—


And yet must be—the land where every man is free.


The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's,

ME—


Who made America,


Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,


Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,


Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—


The steel of freedom does not stain.


From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,


We must take back our land again,


America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,


America never was America to me,


And yet I swear this oath—


America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,


The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,


We, the people, must redeem


The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.


The mountains and the endless plain—


All, all the stretch of these great green states—


And make America again!

 • • •

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.

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  • Thank you, Samantha. Death. Covid is a non-human pandemic that causes death. It does not care who it infects. George Floyd's death was an intentional murder we all witnessed. Don't give me any "buts" after my sentence. My heart bleeds for George Floyd's brother, broken to his core. You know. You've seen him on the news, talking to our government, weeping and pleading. Where's your ability to feel and see the truth? White lives have always mattered and you know it. Our original sin and the way Black people have been treated in our country for the past 400 years has shown that Black lives did not matter and still don't today. I am appalled that a full half of the people who read the LCC have tallied in that they do not support Black Lives Matter. Half! Are you that half that thinks you are walking in Jesus' footsteps when you refuse to let Jesus loving gay citizens march in your parade? My God. What is the matter with you? That could have been your son, your brother, or your father who died a slow death in broad daylight at the hands of a policeman who is supposed to protect the citizenry. No, wait a minute. Sorry, I was wrong. That could not be you. You're white.

    -- Posted by jpmorganfreeman on Thu, Jun 11, 2020, at 7:40 PM
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