A HOME IN THAT ROCK: THE WAR ON BLACK BOYS

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                            IT WILL LIVE INSIDE ME FOREVER
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, halfway between sleep and consciousness, I go to the place where that bewildered boy of long ago still dwells in me, and my eyes fill with tears. I tell him that he is safe now, and that I will protect him. But the scars on his soul ache, and although he wishes me well in his little, manly way, he is able to draw little solace from my presence.
When I stand in front of my students, my mind often wanders back to those years. Almost as if it were yesterday, I vividly recall watching my father being beaten by the police. I have never felt more impotent and powerless than I did in those days.
They will live inside of me forever.
Gregory  Howard  Williams
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I don’t think of them as dead, but as walking together  over green hills at dawn, peacefully making their way  along a zigzag trail. When they lose sight of one another, one of them calls out in a voice that echoes throughout the hills, “Kote w ye fre m? Brother, where are you?
And the other one answers,  “Mwen la . Right here, brother. I’m  right here.”
Edwidge Danticat,  Brother, I’m Dying
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 GOD GAVE NOAH THE RAINBOW SIGN:  WON’T  BE WATER, IT’S THE FIRE NEXT TIME
images-2“I’m too young for this. I don’t want to talk about it. I need to take a long rest”
8-year-old boy, Henry Horner Homes housing project, Chicago
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“The future? You better not be thinking about the future if you want to make it through each day.”
Crips set leader, age 16, Brooklyn, New York. Television interview.
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“I just want to be the one in the little boat who goes up and down the river,
pulling out the things that hurt the ducks – so that no more  ducks will die.”
J. Drayton, age 7, Boston
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DRINK PLENTY OF MILK / ART AND PHOTO BY CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2011
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This is the body of Blake Melvin Staples, the seventh of my family’s nine children. I know his countours well. I bathed and diapered him when he was a baby. He is the smallest of the brothers, with the same short torso, and long arms and legs. His second toe curves slightly and rises in an arc, in a way that’s unique to us.
Below the familiar feet, a drain awaits the blood that will flow from the autopsy.
“The deceased twenty-two-year-old Negro male sustained multiple gunshot wounds – “
The floor gave way, and I fell down and down for miles.
Brent Staples,  Parallel Time
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8 thoughts on “A HOME IN THAT ROCK: THE WAR ON BLACK BOYS

  1. Jeff, hey thanks – sometimes I’m amazed by the capacity of one voice to encourage (and be encouraged by) one unknown other. You’re right – every affirmation IS meaningful to me re. this issue. Thanks for passing it on to me – and for adding your own appreciation, both then (yes, it was clear) and now.

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      1. Me again, I wanted to let you know that a fellow blogger really appreciated your comments on my last post “Let My People Read”…I thought you should know. I did too by the way!

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    1. I missed your comment. I’m so sorry. Maybe ALL of us must help to make sure that childhoods like these and yours, and so many others are remembered. Maybe those of us whose hearts were not broken should accept the sacred weight of that stewardship when people and the children they once were need to rest.XXOO

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