Better Blackness

December 7, 2012

“Primer for Blacks” excerpt – Gwendolyn Brooks

Filed under: Literature — betterblackness @ 2:33 am

Primer For Blacks

By Gwendolyn Brooks

is a title,
is a preoccupation,
is a commitment Blacks
are to comprehend—
and in which you are
to perceive your Glory.

stretches over the land.
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—
marches on.

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.

Reprinted By Consent of Brooks Permissions.

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

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