Thursday, February 27, 2014

African-American History Month

Carter G. Woodson
On this date a while back Dredd Blog post "Hidden History In Plain Sight" mentioned Black History Month.

The photo of Carter G. Woodson ("the father of Black History") is related to this month's remembrances and reflections, in the sense that he was a historian, and initiated Negro History Week which influenced the observances this month.

This year in honor of the occasion, I wanted to share a public domain poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1802-1906).

This poem is a work of art in the language and dialect of that time, shared from a site that has many, many of his works as well as many other artists (link to site at end of poem).


Who say my hea't ain't true to you?
Dey bettah heish dey mouf.
I knows I loves you thoo an' thoo
In watah time er drouf.
I wush dese people 'd stop dey talkin',
Don't mean no mo' dan chicken's squawkin':
I guess I knows which way I's walkin',
I knows de norf f'om souf.

I does not love Elizy Brown,
I guess I knows my min'.
You allus try to tek me down
Wid evaht'ing you fin'.
Ef dese hyeah folks will keep on fillin'
Yo' haid wid nonsense, an' you's willin'
I bet some day dey 'll be a killin'
Somewhaih along de line.

O' cose I buys de gal ice-cream,
Whut else I gwine to do?
I knows jes' how de t'ing 'u'd seem
Ef I 'd be sho't wid you.
On Sunday, you's at chu'ch a-shoutin',
Den all de week you go 'roun' poutin'--
I's mighty tiahed o' all dis doubtin',
I tell you cause I's true.

Thanks to Its Written

I might add that the reason this poem is written in a code of sorts, in addition to being written in the dialect, was explained in the Dredd Blog Post Blind Willie McTell News.

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