“We Rose”

On Saturday, Black Americans all over the world will celebrate Juneteenth, the day when the news of Emancipation reached those who still toiled two months after Confederates were defeated in the Civil War. Kristina Kay has penned two pieces that are considered the official poems of the holiday. “We Rise” reflects on our collective journey as Black people from our homeland, to chains, and, finally, to freedom.

“We Rose”
by Kristina Kay

From Africa’s heart, we rose
Already a people, our faces ebon, our bodies lean,
We rose
Skills of art, life, beauty and family
Crushed by forces we knew nothing of, we rose
Survive we must, we did,
We rose
We rose to be you, we rose to be me,
Above everything expected, we rose
To become the knowledge we never knew,
We rose
Dream, we did
Act, we must

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