They came in riot gear and threw me to the ground.
Read to me my rights and then my hands were bound.
We’d peacefully assembled to have our grievance heard.
But before we had begun or even spoke one word,
they had us all in handcuffs and headed to a cell.
I had to spend the night inside a filthy jail.
They told me to strip down and then just turn around.
A thought came in my head. It’s like a slave compound.
A scene played out for me from 200 hundred years ago.
Africa, serene. The night sky all aglow.
They came from out of nowhere, the white man with his gun.
Oh how they did give chase, the Black man on the run.
They threw him on the ground; his hands, yes they did bind.
He heard no rights read out. They thought he had no mind.
As they stood in chains and fetters, no grievance could they state.
They knew they’d get no quarter there. They could not know their fate.
They did not sell each other out. Who’d want to be a slave?
This is just the version that history’s always played.
If they sold each other out, that gives to you a pass.
So you can keep your dignity, so you can keep your class.
If I sell to you a person and you buy him, that’s on you.
You want to think it’s one wrong, you hate to know it’s two.
So, beat me! Kick me! Jail me! That’s what you do so well.
And then you have the nerve to say that I must go to hell.
You will be behind me when all is said and done.
If I must meet the devil, I’ll not be the only one.
Look into a mirror, the devil you have met.
You’ll get no ice from me, this time, it’s you who’ll sweat.
Shelby I. Courtland
©2013 Shelby I. Courtland