Free At Last©Dawn Minott |International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (25 March)

This marks the anniversary of Africans in America 400 plus 4 years
Let the story be told in full of ancestral lineage—Kings and Queens till slavery interferes
August of 1619 the record declares: “20 and odd” Africans kidnapped, sold, stripped of their rights
Forced exile from African land, so began resistance fight

1619—let this be clear: that’s America’s true founding
The greatest story never told, it’s truth now unfolding
The treatment of enslaved Africans divided the nation
North versus South but civil war gained only partial emancipation

Enslaved people “shall then, thenceforward, and forever be free”
But, this long awaited proclamation didn’t free all from slavery
Freedom road paved with hard-won gains broke Galveston’s stronghold
“Jubilee Day” birthed Juneteenth—African American holiday to nationally behold

Decades of slavery’s brutality bred a racist legacy
The reconstruction period fueled white supremacy
13 then 15 constitutional amendments made
Slavery’s official end and partial voting rights were gained

As African Americans won elections to ascend to seats of power
So did terrorism to intimidate, to suppress, and disempower
Jim-crow, segregation, separate but equal under law
Pursuit of education was the self-improvement path foresaw

Or should they return to Africa build a country of their own?
Garvey’s Black Star Line ideas eventually overthrown
No—Stay! Fight! Determined! Resolute resistance!
Writers wield pen’s might to stir cultural renaissance

Freedom rides, sit ins, marches all demonstrating 
“If we must die let it not be like hogs”, Claude McKay’s mantra resonating
From Tubman’s Underground Railway created to be free
To Malcom’s inspired Black Power movement for justice and equality

LISTEN … Say their names together:
Rodney, Ahmaud, Breonna, George and so many others
Black Lives Matter—
The clarion call to end violence against our sisters and our brothers

Starting the marathon for a political seat at the table too
Shirley Chisholm runs for President in 1972
Jesse Jackson, he picked up the mantle in 1984
The power of the black vote galvanized and opened wide the door

In comes Barack Obama, first Black President elected in 20-0-9
Next Kamala Harris, Black and woman Vice President—for the very first time
It’s been centuries after centuries fighting always to restore
Our rightful place as Kings and Queens, Prince and Princesses like ancestors before

No tide of racism is high enough to impede rights-based education
Black history now a critical theory in schools’ curriculum foundation
Martin Luther the King of nonviolent civil action
Let it be known—our collective strength emerged to shape the identity of this nation

“Surely been rebuked, surely been scorned
But still my soul is-a heaven-born
If you don’t know that I been redeemed
Just follow me down to Jordan’s stream”

You’ll hear what it’s all about
Echoes of liberation shout
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Afterword: This piece was commissioned by the Mount Vernon SDA Church for Black History Month and published 25 March 2023 to mark International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

2023 All Rights Reserved

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In creative solidarity, Dee

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