20 best Black History poems for kids: A celebration of black

20 best Black History poems for kids: A celebration of black

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.

black history poems for kids

Black History Month celebration. Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

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.

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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 —

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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

The life of Roman Atwood's ex-wife, Shanna Riley

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.

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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

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

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

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

black history poems for kids

Black History Month celebration. Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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9. Knoxville, Tennessee - Nikki Giovanni

I always like summer

best

you can eat fresh corn

from daddy's garden

and okra

and greens

and cabbage

and lots of

barbecue

and buttermilk

and homemade ice-cream

at the church picnic

and listen to

gospel music

outside

at the church

homecoming

and go to the mountains with

your grandmother

and go barefooted

and be warm

all the time

not only when you go to bed

and sleep

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,

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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.

black history poems for kids

Black History Month celebration. Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

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

Stand up!

Let's make a difference

Stand up!

Let's fight resistance

Violence won't fit

We've got to resist

Protest and sit

Join hands to assist

Stand up!

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

black history poems for kids

Black History Month celebration. Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

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

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

’Eat in the kitchen,’

Then.

Besides,

They'll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed

I, too, am America.

18. Freedom Walk - Charlise F

Freedom:

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

’’Keep walking.’’

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

Nor ever

Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right

As the other fellow has

To stand

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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