Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

The Emmett till Blues

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

The Emmett till Blues

Article excerpt

What they use to just do and just done it to me,

they doing it directly to all yall now, doing it

and doing it and doing it to the world.

Shoot and cut and smash my head in,

take me to the river, sink me down -

you call that religion? Yeah, yeah!

It hadn't of been for my mother bring

my busted body back up to Chicago and let

Jet get pictures for the world to look at,

nobody would of known. I'm long time gone.

Nowadays wouldn't be no way I'd get to say

this on television, no way yall would even see

a picture of me. Do yall even know who this is

talking to you? This is Emmett Till. I died

and died and died. Soon as yall figured

America was saved, here come Guantánamo

and Abu Ghraib. Here come greed and

here come grief. The Thief of Baghdad

make they own commandments. Geronimo,

wouldn't of paid them no mind. What you think

they might pull next? Talk to me. I been done died.

- Al Young

[Author Affiliation]

Al Young is the former Poet Laureate of California. …

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