Best known as Black History Month, February has been a distinct month since the 1970s to celebrate all things black because of mindblowing historical events. In light of this, Black History poems for kids are part of what is held in high esteem when celebrating the season.
What does Black History stand for? It is a time when African-Americans celebrate and reflect on what their past heroes did for them. During the period, they rejoice, thank, and appreciate leaders who fought for them and gave them hope, freedom, and faith in themselves.
Best Black History poems for kids
To add colours to the celebration of Black History Month, black poets have penned some beautiful lines worth appreciating. So, are you looking for Black History inspirational poems or poems about being back and proud? Some of the best Black History poems by African poets shared below are inspiring, and they help us appreciate what these heroes have done.
1. The Pool Players, Seven At The Golden Shovel - Gwendolyn Brooks
We real cool.
We left school.
We lurk late.
We strike straight.
We sing sin.
We thing gin.
We jazz June.
We die soon.
2. Won't You Celebrate With Me - Lucille Clifton
Won’t you celebrate with me
what I have shaped into
a kind of life? I had no model.
born in Babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did I see to be except myself?
I made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that every day
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
3. Tending - Elizabeth Alexander
In the pull-out bed with my brother
in my grandfather’s Riverton apartment
my knees and ankles throbbed from growing,
pulsing so hard they kept me awake —
or was it the Metro North train cars
flying past the apartment, rocking the walls,
or was it the sound of apartment front doors
as heavy as prison doors clanging shut?
Was the Black Nation whispering to me
from the Jet magazines stacked on the floor, or
was it my brother’s unfamiliar ions
vibrating, humming in his easeful sleep?
Tomorrow, as always, Grandfather will rise
to the Spanish-Town cock’s crow deep in his head
and perform his usual ablutions,
and prepare the apartment for the day,
and peel fruit for us, and prepare a hot meal
that can take us anywhere, and onward.
Did sleep elude me because I could feel
the heft of unuttered love in his tending
our small bodies, love a silent, mammoth thing
that overwhelmed me, that kept me awake
as my growing bones did, growing larger
than anything else, I would know?
4. Still I Rise - Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise?
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
5. The Tradition - Jericho Brown
Aster. Nasturtium. Delphinium. We thought
Fingers in dirt meant it was our dirt, learning
Names in heat, in elements classical
Philosophers said could change us. Star Gazer.
Foxglove. Summer seemed to bloom against the will
Of the sun, which news reports claimed flamed hotter
On this planet than when our dead fathers
Wiped sweat from their necks. Cosmos. Baby’s Breath.
Men like me and my brothers filmed what we
Planted for proof we existed before
Too late, sped the video to see blossoms
Brought in seconds, colours you expect in poems
Where the world ends, everything cut down.
John Crawford. Eric Garner. Mike Brown.
How is Black History Month celebrated?
Black History Month is celebrated in diverse manners, including promoting each other's business, looking out for each other, and advocating for fairness and unity. However, youth who may not be able to participate in those aforementioned things can celebrate too by learning poems and skits for Black History Month. Check out these inspirational poems for black youth.
6. Dirt - Kwame Dames
We who gave, owned nothing,
learned the value of dirt, how
a man or a woman can stand
among the unruly growth,
look far into its limits,
a place of stone and entanglements,
and suddenly understand
the meaning of a name, a deed,
a currency of personhood.
Here, where we have laboured
for another man’s gain, if it is fine
to own dirt and stone, it is
fine to have a plot where
a body may be planted to rot.
We who have built only
that which others have owned
learn the ritual of trees,
the rites of fruit picked
and eaten, the pleasures
of ownership. We who
have fled with sword
at our backs know the things
they have stolen from us, and we
will walk naked and filthy
into the open field knowing
only that this piece of dirt,
this expanse of nothing,
is the earnest of our faith
in the idea of tomorrow.
We will sell our bones
for a piece of dirt,
we will build new tribes
and plant new seeds
and bury our bones in our dirt.
7. A Place In The Country - Toi Derricotte
We like the houses here.
We circle the lake turning
into dark cleavages, dense-packed gleamings.
We could live here, we say.
We’re smiling, but thinking
of the houses at the last resort:
The real estate agent looked surprised
when she saw Bruce’s face; then flipped
quickly through the glossy pictures—
I’m sure you won’t like this one;
I can tell it’s not your kind.
Our house in Essex Fells
took a year to sell and sold
to a black family. A friend explained,
once a house is owned
by black people, they’re the only ones
they’ll show it to. Do we want to live
some place with a view
overlooking the politics?
When we pass
an exit named “Negro Mountain,”
Bruce smiles and jerks the wheel
as if we almost missed our turn.
Why must everything we want
come by stealth? Why is every road
in this bright country furnished
with its history of hatred? Yet
we keep smiling, driven
by a desire beyond the logic
of if we can afford it,
and whether we would love
or hate it if we did buy.
8. A Small Needful Fact - Ross Gay
Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.
9. Knoxville, Tennessee - Nikki Giovanni
I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy's garden
and lots of
and homemade ice-cream
at the church picnic
and listen to
at the church
and go to the mountains with
and go barefooted
and be warm
all the time
not only when you go to bed
10. Barbarism - Terrance Haynes
It was light and lusterless and somehow luckless,
The hair I cut from the head of my father-in-law,
It was pepper-blanched and wind-scuffed, thin
As a blown bulb’s filament, it stuck to the teeth
Of my clippers like a dark language, the static
Covering his mind stuck to my fingers, it mingled
In halfhearted tufts with the dust. Because
Every barber’s got a gift for mind reading in his touch,
I could hear what he would not say. He’d sworn
To never let his hair be cut again after his daughter
Passed away. I told him how my own boy,
His grandchild, weeps when my clippers bite
Behind his ear, but I could not say how
The blood there tastes. I almost showed him
How I bow my own head to the razor in my hands,
How a mirror is used to taper the nape.
Science and religion come to the same conclusion:
Someday all the hair on the body will fall away.
I’m certain he will only call on me for a few more years,
The crown of his head is already smoother
Than any part of his face. It shines like the light
In tiny bulbs of sweat before the sweat evaporates.
Poems for black sons
You should be able to recite something else apart from I am the black child poem. Learning and mastering several Black History poems give you a broader view of who you are and what you can become. Below are inspiring poems about being black and proud you can learn from.
11. Stand Up - Jessica Zannini
Let's make a difference
Let's fight resistance
Violence won't fit
We've got to resist
Protest and sit
Join hands to assist
Let's fix the wrong
And make us strong
12. His Dream Lives On - Langston Hughes
Today is a day we all sing
In honour of Martin Luther King
Wherever people fight to be free
His name is remembered with dignity
When black people weren't treated right
He stood strong to lead the fight
He fought with love, not guns or darts
He changed people's minds and their hearts
But some people didn't like his words
He was taken away to a better world
Yet his dream lives on, that all can be free
When we knock down the walls between you and me
13. Go To The Back Rosa Parks - Rita Dove
Go to the back of the bus, Rosa Parks
Go to the back and stay
’’No, I won't, I think that's unfair
And I'm just too tired today
But everyone knows the rules, Rosa Parks
Everyone knows if you're black
You can't eat at white restaurants
And on busses, you sit in the back
So now it is time to move, Rosa Parks
’’No, I’m not moving at all
I've got a voice and I'm going to use it
And thousands will hear the call
’’We are coming to sit with you, Rosa Parks’’
People black and white did say
’’We're coming to change America
And bring equality here to stay!
14. Black History Month - Nikki Giovanni
If Black History Month is not
Viable then wind does not
Carry the seeds and drop them
On fertile ground
Rain does not
Dampen the land
And encourage the seeds to root
Sun does not warm the earth
And kiss the seedlings
And tell them plain:
You're As Good as Anybody else
You have got a place here, too.
15. I Am Accused Of Tending To The Past - Lucille Clinton
I am accused of tending to the past
As if I made it
As if I sculpted it
With my own hands. I did not
This past was waiting for me
When I came
A monstrous unnamed baby
And I with my mother's itch
Took it to breast and named it History.
She is more human now
Learning languages every day,
Remembering faces, names and dates
When she is strong enough to travel
On her own, beware, she will
16. I Am The Black Child - Mychal Wynn
I am special, ridicule cannot sway me
I am strong, obstacles cannot stop me
I hold my head high, proudly proclaiming my uniqueness
I am proud of my culture and my heritage
I am confident that I can achieve my every goal
I am becoming all that I can be
I am the black child, I am the child of God
17. I, Too - Langston Hughes
I’ll be at the table
When company comes
Say to me,
’Eat in the kitchen,’
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed
I, too, am America.
18. Freedom Walk - Charlise F
They say we'll never get it
I believe when people hear
The coloured side of the story - ’’Injustice anywhere is an insult to justice everywhere.”
They chant and throw objects
But I'm not giving up
I feel like I could walk
All night for freedom. Cops yell and block the roads and order people to go back.
Group of Caucasians chants in our faces
And hold up signs but all I can say is
19. Being Black - Unknown author
The colour of my skin is black
So my life seems to be under attack
All the anger of hatred of people is put into me
If only people would realise and see
That I'm no different from you, that stands before me
You tell me that I'm different and that I don't belong here
You tell me that your only wish is that I'd completely disappear
But there are one of two people that know the truth
Which is the fact that I am just another black
Trying to survive in a world of fear
Just because my family don't originate from here.
20. Democracy - Langston Hughes
Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Through compromise and fear.
I have as much right
As the other fellow has
On my two feet
And own the land.
I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need freedom when I'm dead
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread
No doubt, Black History poems for kids will help African-American children have a glimpse of their history and connect with other kids. So, do well to read any of these poems to them and make sure you explain to them the meaning of the poems.
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