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by Josephine Victoria Finn

 

Fine time to tell me to go back to Africa;

After I fought in your wars, all of them;

Suckled your babies, shined your shoes, have been raped and beaten, and been your strange fruit.

Fine time to tell me to go back to Africa;

Fine time to tell me to go back to Africa when you owe me 50 Gazillion dollars in back wages, education, housing, goods, services, music royalties, acting roles, a simple apology.

Fine time to tell me to go back to Africa when you love to brown your skin in the sun to look like me, dread your hair, imitate my music, jazz, rock and roll,

gospel (where’s the good news) and the blues

(got plenty of the blues).

Fine time to tell me to go back to Africa when you tried to erase my culture but now you’ve got my dance steps, dress like me, talk like me, walk like me, sing like me. Fine time.

You abused me, defamed me, misrepresented me,

disenfranchised me, killed my young but you will never destroy me because, I am a child of the survivors;

Those who made the trip from Africa, stacked 20 deep, washed in stench, starved, beaten, raped, stomped scarred, but who LIVED.

I am a child of the survivors who did not quit, die from disease, jump over board, or commit suicide on board;

A child of the survivors who made it to America, only to be subjected to slavery, more rapes, beatings, degradation, maiming, murder and other assorted horrors.

I live because my ancestors were made of the strongest stuff on earth and therefore so am I.

You will never destroy me, no matter how many times you try, and oh how many times you have tried;

Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, integration, poverty, drugs, guns, politics, religion, prison, white privilege, institutional racism, no education,miseducation and yet, I stand because you bred me into a Tuskegee Airman, a Malcom, a Medgar, a Martin, an Oprah, a Maya, a Serena, a LeBron, an Ida Mae;

Do what you will, but like the mystical bird the Phoenix,

I will rise from the ashes.

I am a descendant of the survivors.

Fine time to tell me to go back to Africa.

 


Josephine Victoria Finn was appointed to a 5 year term on the New York State Board of Regents on March 11, 2014.  Regent Finn graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta receiving a B.A. in Psychology and Black Studies and from the University of Buffalo Law School where she received a J.D.

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