From Komunyakaa

From a reflection on the personal politics of race written by Yusef Komunyakaa on the eve of Obama’s inauguration:

One of the earliest memories I have that directly regards skin color and racism takes me back to another family of blacks who were almost white. The Lorence family had light hair and eyes — mother and father, two girls and one boy. We children weren’t close friends, but sometimes we’d play together. I remember most vividly one summer when I was about 9. It was a Saturday afternoon. Leonard, the brother, wasn’t with us. His two sisters and their cousin visiting them from Detroit were there.

Three of my brothers were with me. All seven of us were sitting in the back of the public bus where “colored” people sat during those Jim Crow years. Maybe we were talking about Superman or a soul music group called Little Anthony and the Imperials. I remember that we were going to see a matinee at the State Theater — maybe “Hop-a-long Cassidy.” And I also remember the bus driver hitting the brakes and leaping to his feet. He charged to the rear of the bus, yelling, “You little girls gotta come up front.” The bus sat on the side of the street, pulsing like a big, striped turtle. The girls sang out all at once, saying: “We have to sit back here with our cousins, our friends.” I remember the driver’s face turning scarlet. I remember him stomping back up to the front of the bus, mumbling cusses and throwing himself into the driver’s seat. I remember him leaving rubber on the August pavement. I remember feeling hurt inside. I remember a jolt of anger, and I remember not knowing why.

Read The Colors in My Dreams

via Silliman’s Blog

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