“There was no response.” (A People’s History…Ch. 17)

[What follows is my “found poetry” reflection on Ch. 17]

Suppose you get two bullets in your head right now?

I got to die anyhow.

          We must use the weapon of love.

Words uttered, laws passed, decisions made, which turned out to be meaningless.

Revolt was always minutes away.

The United States is not so strong that we can ignore what the world thinks of us or our record.

I had never known that anything could be done about it,

A fiction that white men had created.

Secret thoughts can often be found in the arts,

The Negro was going on record that he would no longer turn the other cheek.

We must use the weapon of love.

Kennedy moved to incorporate the Negro revolution into the democratic coalition,

It became a picnic, a circus.

Love is fragile and gentle and seeks a like response.

Now it is over.

It ceased to be angry, it ceased to be hot, it ceased to be uncompromising.

We must use the weapon of love.

While civil rights workers were beaten and jailed, while federal laws were violated,

The federal government was trying to control an explosive situation, to channel anger…

“Look you are all letting this thing go too far.”

“Boss, I can’t stop it because I didn’t start it.”

This black steamroller was going to come down on the capital,

to testify publicly about the daily violence,

the repeated refusal of the national government to defend blacks against violence,

but we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.

We must use the weapon of love.

There was no response.

Who are you to bring people down to register?

Don’t let anyone pull you so low as to hate them.

With all deliberate speed,

It just happened that the driver made a demand and I just didn’t feel like obeying his demand.

It was all a surprise to those without that deep memory of slavery, that everyday presence of humiliation,

which might go off with some unpredictable set of events.

“Our smallest actions have far-reaching effects.”

The federal government never enforced the law in the South.

We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us.

We must use the weapon of love.

If they shoot me in the back of the head there are people coming from all over the world.

They were organizing,

I got to die anyhow.

They were organizing,

That was revolution. That was revolution. That was the black revolution.

They were organizing,

There was no response.

“Boss, I can’t stop it because I didn’t start it.”

There was no response.

It became a picnic, a circus.

Now it is over.

A growing crisis, unmet human needs.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.”

We must use the weapon of love.

There was no response.

He was more influential in death than during his lifetime.

You’ll get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom.

It became a picnic, a circus.

It’s the only way you’ll get it,

acting against local symbols of white American society.

There was no response.

They did not fire warning shots.

When the guns of war become a national obsession, social needs inevitably suffer.

It became a picnic, a circus.

Militant, massive non-violence

persistently out of a racism deep in the institutions, the mind of the country.

There was no response.

Students who engage in civil disorders “must expect to be injured or killed.”

It’s the only way you’ll get it.

The federal government have proven that it don’t care about poor people.

There was a small amount of change and a lot of publicity,

creating an impression of change.

It became a picnic, a circus.

“I want the right to be black and me…”

There was no response.

 

 

What happens to a dream deferred?

We must use the weapon of love.

 

 

There is no response.

 

 

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