How many of us remember the poetry of African American poet, Countee Cullen, 1903-1946? Rev. and Mrs. Frederick Cullen of Salem Methodist Church in Harlem adopted him in 1918. I had remembered his, "Yet do I marvel at the curious thing, (God) made a poet black, and bid him sing." But Baltimore has caused me to remember his Baltimore poem, “Incident.”
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean,
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger.
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue and called me 'Nigger'.
I saw the whole of Baltimore,
From May until December,
Of all the things that happened there,
That's all that I remember.
Some persons wonder why we who are black are hurt and angered by what they call "isolated incidents" of bias and bigotry. Our answer; it is because they are NOT "isolated incidents". There is a connecting link between calling us the n_____ word, and treating us as less than human.
"I am, We are, Freddie Gray!"
I/We wish that all of us were.