Tag Archives: racism

THE WINGS BENEATH HIS WIN

THE WINGS BENEATH HIS WIN

Ask not who should Obama thank
but who we should thank for Obama

There are a million threads that make up
the quilt of America’s growing up

You could follow one
back to a university
in Tuskagee Alabama in 1881
to its first teacher Booker T. Washington
who hired George Washington Carver,
who lived to see it become
the home of the Tuskagee airmen
who fought with equal skill
and double courage on
two fronts at once

Their performance and sacrifice
inspiring Harry Truman
on July 26th, 1948 to issue executive
order 9981 directing
equality of treatment and opportunity
in the armed forces

And if those weren’t threads enough
The Tuskagee Song was written in 1902
by Paul Laurence Dundar, classmate
and friend of Orville Wright and
set to the tune of Fair Harvard

We thank thee, we bless thee, we pray for thee years
Imploring with grateful accord
Full fruit for thy striving, time longer to strive
Sweet love and true labor’s reward

Yes indeed Tuskagee, we all thank thee

NORTH OF THE MEDICINE LINE

NORTH OF THE MEDICINE LINE

Given the theory
with some evidence
that the natives of this land
had about the same tolerance
for alcohol as they had for smallpox
and because someone “knew better”
they were not allowed to buy it

If your husband, although a member
of a supposed superior European race
showed a weakness for the drink
and a strong tendency to spend
the grocery money on the demon rum

You’d just go to the proper authorities
have him knocked down one race
quickly added to the Indian list
and barred from every bar

And there we were
children of the tolerant Swiss
eating nigger toes at Christmas
(we think them Brazil nuts now)
all thinking it all perfectly natural