by Mr. Mueller, Principal
As we leave February, and another winter (hopefully) behind, another African American History month has also passed. In an increasingly diverse society and world, it is critical that schools, communities and nations understand, recognize and appreciate the contributions that all cultures make to the global village. While we cannot always sacrifice the class time that such study requires, we can find other times to expand our knowledge. I would personally like to congratulate West G. TV for the segment on Black History on the Wolverine Wrap of 2/27/04. Dom Rocci did an outstanding job combining content and technology in a piece that served, in my opinion, as a defining moment in West G. TV history. This product also serves as a model for a new age of teaching and learning in 21st century public education. I couldnt be more proud. This is an example of, West at its Best!
I also taught two of Mr. Rosatis classes as they explored the Harlem
Renaissance, a perfect fit for Black History month. I shared with students some
of the writings of Langston Hughes, the leading African-American spokesperson
of that movement, and one of the great figures in American literary history.
I had a great time sharing my passion for the history, sociology and literature
of our country with these classes. As we enter a new season, consider these
words by Langston Hughes as another February has come and gone. This poem was
written generations ago but still rings true today.
Let America Be America Again
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(Theres never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this homeland of the free.)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slaverys scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for ones own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet todayO, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet Im the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
Thats made America the land it has become.
O, Im the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home
For Im the one who left dark Irelands shore,
And Polands plain, and Englands grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africas strand I came
To build a homeland of the free. The free?
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams weve dreamed
And all the songs weve sung
And all the hopes weve held
And all the flags weve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay
Except the dream thats almost dead today.
O, let America be America again
The land that never has been yet
And yet must bethe land where every man is free.
The land thats minethe poor mans, Indians, Negros, ME
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the peoples lives,
We must take back our land again, America!
O, yes, I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain
All, all the stretch of these great green states
And make America again!
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes. Used with permission.
Copyright © 1997-2002 by The Academy of American Poets