Sep. 14, 2017

Nineteen Hundred And Thirty-One, Oh Say Did You See

On March 3, 1931, The Star Spangled Banner became the National Anthem, before that time, and during that time 10’s of thousands of blacks were lynched in America after supposedly becoming free in 1865. This poem is my tribute to those who have suffered the ultimate sacrifice in a most shameful way. People ask why should Black Americans do not stand for that song? Well, the history of that song’s origin and the events that have chastened our people in our continued battle for equality answers that question for me. If you have experienced and continue to experience the types of injustices Black Americans have suffered. It’s a wonder why anyone would stand and honor America’s horrific history towards people of color. It’s time for America to lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring.

 

 

Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-One, Oh Say Did You See

In Nineteen Hundred And Thirty-One

 

you see America cared not if the black man was ever truly set free

 

White folks look at the ignored 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments with glee

 

The hell with freedom from sea to shining sea

 

Freedom in America wasn’t meant for people who looked like me

 

In nineteen hundred and thirty-one the Constitution was dirt to people who looked like me

 

Then along came this poem written by Francis Scott Key

 

Like America, itself, it was sung a little off-key

 

Sung while white folks ignored that lynched black man’s final plea

In Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-One

 

How’s that America from sea to shining sea

 

Oh say did you see that man hanging from that tree

 

So why do you want me to stand today while my ancestors bleed all over me

 

The dawn’s early light was when those white men snuffed my grand-daddy lights out

 

Oh so proudly they waved while they drove my grand mama to her grave

 

All because both of them refused again to be slaves

 

The bullets red glared, the torches bursting in air

 

The entire black town was consumed in a fiery tomb

 

Justice for my ancestors was definitely doomed

 

So why do you want me to stand when we can’t get true justice in this land

 

It's 2017 and you cry make America great again

 

All of you must have forgotten all of your past sins

 

That perilous fight actually was my ancestor's fright

 

Because those white hooded knights rampaged all the damn night

 

Burning, shooting and killing everything black in their damn sight

 

So why all the ill dispute about that song of ill repute 

 

In Nineteen Hundred And Thirty-One

 

you see Jim Crow in America was whipping us

 

Hell no we couldn’t ride in the front of any bus

 

All that Liberty Bell for blacks was gaining was rust

 

Did that banner song they played saved my black granddaddy from his grave

 

They pulled him from a cell you see and lynched him high for all to see

 

So when they labeled that song they sing the national anthem

 

My people were hardly free in this so-called land of liberty

 

In Nineteen Hundred And Thirty-One

 

Living black in America was not much fun

 

Especially if you were black and constantly on the run

 

You couldn’t even protect yourself with a gun

 

You had to bow down to every white man including his son

 

So why do you ask why I am not standing when that song is sung

 

It’s for my grand-daddy and the injustice that song brought 

 

And all those dead black bodies white America hung

 

All those black bodies roasting in the vile American sun

 

Oh say did you see Wil Cato

 

Oh say did you see Paul Reed

 

Oh say did you see Anthony Crawford

 

Oh say did you see Sam Hose

 

Oh say did you see Claude Neal

 

Oh say did you see Willie McGee

 

Oh say did you see Emmitt Till

 

Oh say can you see Ruby Stacey

 

Oh say did you see Eli Persons

 

Oh say did you see Elihu Johnson

 

Oh say did you see D.A. Johnson

 

Oh say did you see Froggie James

 

Oh say did you see Jessie Washington

 

Oh say did you see Walter Lee

 

Oh say did you see Addie Collins

 

Oh say did you see Cynthia Wesley

 

Oh say did you see Carole Robertson

 

Oh say did you see Denise McNair

 

Oh say did you see Freddie Gray

 

Oh say did you see Sandra Bland

 

Oh say did you see Trayvon Martin

 

Oh say did you see Philando Castile

 

Oh say did you see Walter Scott

 

Oh say did you see all those nameless dead bodies who look just like me

 

It may not be Nineteen Hundred And Thirty-One

 

Yet for  blacks, today justice still ain’t close to being free

 

You see America cared not if any black man was free

 

Get over it, you always say that happened on another day

 

Why don’t you close up our minds and forget about those deadly crimes

 

This simple act of kneeling down has caused so many white folks to frown

 

Why didn't anyone tried to help my black granddaddy as his body was being shoved into the ground

 

You say that was in Nineteen Hundred And Thirty-One 

 

Guess what? There still is no justice for everyone

 

So from until my days are done you won’t see me rise again 

 

I’m done  

 

Lift ever’y and sing till earth and heaven ring

 

When my song is sung will all of White America stand up with me?