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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Margaret Walker, a poet you should know

"She was a woman of ideas, a first-rate philosopher and thinker. She was one of the writers who celebrated black people much in the tradition of [ poets ] Gwendolyn Brooks and Sterling Brown."
--Sonia Sanchez, poet

"The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories."

-- Margaret Walker, writer

Listen up. After receiving e-mails asking the daddy about poets, he decided to spend this week posting about well-known and lesser known poets that he believes all Americans, but especially African Americans, should know. Today, the daddy is feeling Margaret Walker, a great poet who wrote in the tradition of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sterling Brown.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., Margaret Abigail Walker was a poet, novelist (Her best known novel was “Jubilee”) and professor Emeritus at Jackson State College, in Jackson, Mississippi. She taught English and served as director of the Institute for the Study of History, Life and Culture of Black Peoples at Jackson State College.

She began writing in the 1930s and was still writing in the 1990’s, when she died at the age of 83. Her writing bridged the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s and 1930’s and the black arts movement of the 1960’s.

Another interesting fact about Ms. Walker is that she helped Richard Wright outline and do research for the book "Native Son."

"For My People,” her most famous poem, speaks of the struggles of blacks but also their yearning for a new day:

For My People

For my people everywhere singing their slave songs repeatedly: their
dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, praying their
prayers nightly to an unknown god, bending their knees humbly
to an unseen power;

For my people lending their strength to the years, to the gone years
and the now years and the maybe years, washing ironing cooking
scrubbing sewing mending hoeing plowing digging planting
pruning patching dragging along never gaining never reaping
never knowing and never understanding;

For my people standing staring trying to fashion a better way from
confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding, trying to
fashion a world that will hold all the people, all the faces, all the
adams and eves and their countless generations;

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be
written in the sky. Let a second generation full of courage issue
forth; let a people loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty
full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in
our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs be written, let
the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control.

6 comments:

Villager said...

Powerful poet. Remarkable series that you propose for this week. I look forward to learning about (s)heroes that are not always well publicized in our community.

Thank you for taking time to research and post this series!

peace, Villager

MacDaddy said...

Villager: I'm having fun myself, reacquainted to these great writers. Thanks for allowing me to announce it on your wonderful blog. Blessings.

Robbie said...

Amen. I love this poem. Fits today's times quite well, too.

Big Man said...

i remember this book, but I didn't remember her name.

Sista GP said...

It is easy to forget the struggles of those that came before us when so much is available today.
I say thanks to all that documented the life of our ancestors. Their writings reminds us to appreciate what we have and to seek for more accomplishments.

MacDaddy said...

Robbie: Thanks for dropping by. And I'm trying to find you on facebook.

Big Man: Welcome back. Hope all is well on your job and elsewhere.

SistaGP: No one could have said it better. That's why I do this blog: to help us to better understand the people who went before us, the footprints they left for us to follow.