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An American Man
(February/'47 / Connecticut, USA)

An American Man

Poem By Lawrence S. Pertillar

I am an American man.
Re-enforced to keep my thoughts,
Remembering my heritage...
Is of African decent.
By those choosing for me to believe,
I should expect to receive...
A getting of less respect to accept.
Especially...
Less than other ethnic Americans,
Demand to get with this expected...
Without protest or feeling rejected.

As an American man...
Being mentioned to be a Negro,
With this understood.
And made to understand.
I never chose limitations to allow,
My steps to pursue.
Nor did I follow what others said,
I should do to have approved.

On a daily basis I am reminded,
I am black and nothing more than that.
And before I make a move,
I should 'act' black too.
With a labelling attached to wear on my back.
But I will not enable,
My dreams endeavored to prevent them wished...
By anyone branding my steps to prevent,
What it is I will with initiative prove...
I can do to accomplish and get done,
To know as a man...American 'and Black...
I am in no need for suggestions made,
Which path I should take to make easier...
My efforts or the task.

I am an American man.
Re-enforced to keep my thoughts,
Remembering my heritage...
Is of African decent.
And it seems the only ones resenting that fact,
Are those who believe...
My identity to celebrate is when time to me given,
Is limited to a month...
In which my African-American heritage is tolerated.

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