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Primer For Blacks
(7 June 1917 – 3 December 2000 / Topeka, Kansas)

Primer For Blacks

Poem By Gwendolyn Brooks

Blackness
is a title,
is a preoccupation,
is a commitment Blacks
are to comprehend—
and in which you are
to perceive your Glory.

The conscious shout
of all that is white is
“It’s Great to be white.”
The conscious shout
of the slack in Black is
'It's Great to be white.'
Thus all that is white
has white strength and yours.

The word Black
has geographic power,
pulls everybody in:
Blacks here—
Blacks there—
Blacks wherever they may be.
And remember, you Blacks, what they told you—
remember your Education:
“one Drop—one Drop
maketh a brand new Black.”
Oh mighty Drop.
______And because they have given us kindly
so many more of our people

Blackness
stretches over the land.
Blackness—
the Black of it,
the rust-red of it,
the milk and cream of it,
the tan and yellow-tan of it,
the deep-brown middle-brown high-brown of it,
the “olive” and ochre of it—
Blackness
marches on.

The huge, the pungent object of our prime out-ride
is to Comprehend,
to salute and to Love the fact that we are Black,
which is our “ultimate Reality,”
which is the lone ground
from which our meaningful metamorphosis,
from which our prosperous staccato,
group or individual, can rise.

Self-shriveled Blacks.
Begin with gaunt and marvelous concession:
YOU are our costume and our fundamental bone.

All of you—
you COLORED ones,
you NEGRO ones,
those of you who proudly cry
“I’m half INDian”—
those of you who proudly screech
“I’VE got the blood of George WASHington in MY veins”
ALL of you—
you proper Blacks,
you half-Blacks,
you wish-I-weren’t Blacks,
Niggeroes and Niggerenes.


You.

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Comments (9)

Racism is ignorant even in poems. We are all one race the Human Race.
I do not like this long poem as much as her shorter ones. The message, although it is true enough, becomes repetitive and wandering. M.Walker.
Blacks! ! Remember your Education! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
This is kind of a reality check on the enormity of the problem of racism. The hateful legacy whites v/s blacks has to be dismantled...... This will ensure that 'Blackness marches on' becomes a reality.
an truly inspirational right, wonderfully written Gwendolyn
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