When I Was Born Black

When I was born Black, I thought I was free.

When I was born Black, I believed that I had equal rights under the law.

When I was born Black, I learned that I was neither free nor equal in America.

When I went to school, I attended a run-down building with a few books and supplies.

When I went home, my mother was not there because she was working two jobs to support us.

When there was a crime in my neighborhood, the police never came.

When there was a crime in a white neighborhood, the police came and accused the first black man they saw.

When I was arrested and sent to jail, I feared I might be beaten or killed.

When I was on trial, I had poor counsel and received a long prison sentence.

When the country needed soldiers, I fought hard but was neglected as a veteran.

When I tried to go to college, the doors were closed to me like white’s only bathrooms.

When I went to a restaurant, I was denied service.

When I whistled at a pretty white girl, white men seized and hanged me.

When I prayed, they burned my church.

When I asked for equal rights laws to be enforced, the laughed at me.

When I looked for a place to vote, I learned that polling places in my neighborhood were closed.

When I tried to vote, they prohibited from voting.

When I elected Black officials, they tried to limit their power.

When I had bold and courageous leaders, they killed them.

When I marched in protest, the called us terrorists.

When I staged events to morn for a Black man killed by police, they fired tear gas at me and called in the national guard.

When I played on sports teams, they refused to allow me to take a knee.

When I am denied my rights, I have no means of changing the system.

When I have children, I sure as hell don’t want them to live under the tyranny I have suffered.

When I ask God for help, I hope you will pray with me.

For my grandchildren and great-grandchildren

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