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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