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The Black History Writing Competition

March 22, 2012

By Quinton Stroud, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Sarah T. Reed High School

On February 29, 2012 I was able to take three of the students at Sarah T Reed for lunch at Dooky Chase Restaurant.  Two of the students were the winners of the Black History Writing Competition hosted by the Sarah T. Reed team.  The third was selected for his exemplary behavior.  Students completed original works and had them reviewed and edited in the Writing Center.

Dooky Chase was chosen specifically because of the ties it has to the civil rights movement within the city of New Orleans.  The restaurant, which is owned by Mrs. Leah Chase, served as a hub for the movement, and prominent leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, and even Barack Obama have eaten at Mrs. Chase’s table.

During our lunch the students had the privilege of reading the work to Mrs. Chase herself, who shared with them the importance of doing all they can to be their best selves.  The day is one that I will not soon forget, and I hope my students will cherish it forever.

 The winning pieces are below

My Black

Born with color that was burnt by the sun

Stereotyped as the killer, behind smoke from the gun

But yet as Black Men we stand strong and overcome

All of the politics that said colored people were dumb

But then in 2008 the impossible was done

It was time to make a change

Then the Black Man won

But yet and still, we kill ourselves

With drugs, murder, and criminal cells

But we come so far, and fought through hell

To earn our rights, with a story to tell

So with this message, I hope I get through to you

That My Black is powerful, and it’s beautiful

 

-Paul Morris

 

What happened to New Orleans?

It is a shame how belittled Black History Month has become in New Orleans.  As a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana I expected more out of the people, my people.  This is where most of our ancestors are from; this is the very same soil our grandfather’s sweat dripped on.  New Orleans has seen the trials and tribulations of slavery and it has also witnessed the tears of young children as their mothers and fathers are stripped from them by death angels.  Imagine, being a young seven year-old child, knowing nothing but cotton and above 100 degree weather, and all you had to turn to was a mother.  Then, imagine one day when you woke up she wasn’t there.  How would you feel?

Only in New Orleans, did Louis Armstrong blow his horn.  This reason this is so important is because through music, African Americans showed they had a voice.  Through music, African Americans showed they had power.  Through Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, African Americans showed that they were alive.

Everyone knows the Plessy vs. Ferguson case, but they’ve forgotten why it was so important.  Right here in New Orleans the case was held because the “separate but equal” law wasn’t being pursued to a fair extent.  People have forgotten that a little girl had to be escorted to school simply because she was black.  People have forgotten that we haven’t always had the rights to do the things we are able to do today.  People have forgotten they didn’t always have a voice.

New Orleans is the only place I know that used to have a strong passion for a history that should have never happened.  New Orleans is the only place I know that has also lost that very passion.  We’ve lost our sense of where we came from; we’ve lost our sprit.  Where did it go, and how can we get it back?

 

-Johnshell Johnson

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2012 9:30 pm

    I love these writings! Good job Quinton!

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