Primer For Blacks

By Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Gwendolyn Brooks
Blackness
is a title,
is a preoccupation,
is a commitment Blacks
are to comprehend—
and in which you are
to perceive your Glory.

The conscious shout
of all that is white is
“It’s Great to be white.”
The conscious shout
of the slack in Black is
"It's Great to be white."
Thus all that is white
has white strength and yours.

The word Black
has geographic power,
pulls everybody in:
Blacks here—
Blacks there—
Blacks wherever they may be.
And remember, you Blacks, what they told you—
remember your Education:
“one Drop—one Drop
maketh a brand new Black.”
         Oh mighty Drop.
______And because they have given us kindly
so many more of our people

Blackness
stretches over the land.
Blackness—
the Black of it,
the rust-red of it,
the milk and cream of it,
the tan and yellow-tan of it,
the deep-brown middle-brown high-brown of it,
the “olive” and ochre of it—
Blackness
marches on.

The huge, the pungent object of our prime out-ride
is to Comprehend,
to salute and to Love the fact that we are Black,
which is our “ultimate Reality,”
which is the lone ground
from which our meaningful metamorphosis,
from which our prosperous staccato,
group or individual, can rise.

Self-shriveled Blacks.
Begin with gaunt and marvelous concession:
YOU are our costume and our fundamental bone.
      
      All of you—
      you COLORED ones,
      you NEGRO ones,
those of you who proudly cry
      “I’m half INDian”—
      those of you who proudly screech
      “I’VE got the blood of George WASHington in MY veins”
      ALL of you—
            you proper Blacks,
      you half-Blacks,
      you wish-I-weren’t Blacks,
      Niggeroes and Niggerenes.


      You.

Reprinted By Consent of Brooks Permissions.

Source: Primer For Blacks (Self-published, 1980)

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Poet Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000

Subjects Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

 Gwendolyn  Brooks

Biography

Gwendolyn Brooks was a highly regarded, much-honored poet, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. She also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Many of Brooks's works display a political consciousness, especially those from the 1960s and later, with several of her poems reflecting the civil . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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