Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Black History Month 2020

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper | Poet and Abolitionist

Thanks to Poem-a-Day for introducing me to Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s poetry. And thanks to Black History Month for bringing it to mind. My comments follow.

Aunt Chloe’s Politics

Of course, I don’t know very much
About these politics,
But I think that some who run ’em
Do mighty ugly tricks.

I’ve seen ’em honey-fugle round,
And talk so awful sweet,
That you’d think them full of kindness,
As an egg is full of meat.

Now I don’t believe in looking
Honest people in the face,
And saying when you’re doing wrong,
That “I haven’t sold my race.”

When we want to school our children,
If the money isn’t there,
Whether black or white have took it,
The loss we all must share.

And this buying up each other
Is something worse than mean,
Though I thinks a heap of voting,
I go for voting clean.

First published by Ferguson Brothers in Sketches of Southern Life (1891), now in the public domain
Published online by Poem-a-Day on 23 June 2019, by the Academy of American Poets

“Honey fugle” means to deceive by flattery or sweet talk, to swindle or cheat. Click here to see the full definition.

I love Aunt Chloe’s straightforward language. Rigged voting machines and gerry-mandering didn’t begin yesterday. Nor did pie-in-the sky promises and ‘street money’ handed out to influence our votes. As Aunt Chloe points out, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is if the money isn’t there to fund those lovely promises. Everyone loses, no matter the color of our skin.

Aunt Chloe nailed it decades ago. Her words are presented in a no-nonsense voice that invites us to believe her and do something about it. Maybe it’s as simple as getting off our political bandwagons and taking a look at ourselves.

So….The next time you hear politicians making promises too good to be true, think of a flugel horn (profuse apologies to lovers of flugel horns). It may sound sweet and mellow. Nonetheless, sweet music and stars in our eyes won’t buy groceries, pay for medical bills, or turn manipulation into truth. Instead, the cost will continue falling on all of us.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2020
Image found at Wikipedia.org

Outcomes predetermined

Outcomes predetermined –
No need for witnesses

News cameras keep rolling —
Capturing unwillingness
to accept self-evident truths

We have not administered
justice for all with an even hand

We have not allowed freedom for all
in this land of the free and home of the brave

We have not believed
Each person of any color or religion
is created equal and entitled
to full protection under the law

Nor have we been able to stem
today’s flood of party-line mantras
and childlike temper tantrums
from The White House

Welcome to Trump’s world and
the world in which brothers and sisters
now celebrating Black History Month
have lived all their lives

Thank you Mr. Trump
for this unexpected opportunity
to move beyond our current state
of habitual denial and fear

Now playing in your city or town
Every night of the week
No tickets needed

Several days ago I read a news report from CNN. It was about the farce of Trump’s impeachment trial. The message from black folks for white folks: “Welcome to our world.” Ironically, this is Black History Month. What will we make of it?

The meaning of justice has always been skewed against black people in this country. The movie Just Mercy shows how difficult it is in this so-called ‘enlightened age’ for black citizens to get justice. The so-called impeachment trial simply used the same tactics, this time to the advantage of a white male President.

  • a pre-ordained verdict
  • jury nullification (deliberate rejection of evidence or refusal to apply the law)
  • the judge as a prop, offering a pretense of impartiality
  • one of similar trials in which white men are favored

This is a rare opportunity for all of us. Especially, but not only white citizens. It’s still Black History Month. What better topic than the state of our union?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 11 February 2020
Photo of Lynching Memorial found at heraldnet.com

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