Keeping on Pushing in Memory of the Freedom Riders

by on August 23, 2022 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, History

(Opening Poem for the “Buses Are Coming” Exhibit)

by Ernie McCray

Back in 1961
the buses the Freedom Riders road
began to roll,
questioning America’s soul,
bringing to light the Southern United States’ role
in keeping Black folks
and White folks
segregated in bus terminals,
complete with “Whites Only”
cafeterias and restroom facilities,
featuring people on board like
Ralph Abernathy,
friend and mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr.
and Kwame Ture,
nee Stokely Carmichael,
of the Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
who popularized the phrase
“Black Power,”
sparking a rise
in African American Protest Poetry,
poetry very much alive today,
verses that energize a people’s aspirations,
giving their grievances air,
the ravages of their despair,
so, they can walk
with their heads held high
and their hearts determined,
as did the Freedom Riders,
to continue a journey
towards equality
that, like the roads, they traveled,
are filled with barriers
and twists and turns
and detours
that seem to go for miles
making it appear at times
like moonwalking against hurricane winds.
But the struggle has always been
about breathing in “second winds”
and keeping on pushing.


Common Ground Theatre presents “A Poetic Tribute to the Freedom Riders”

Sunday, August 28, 2022, 4-5:30 p.m.
At the Quartyard
1301 Market Street
(619) 432-5303

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