Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Donna M. Cox: The power of a song in a strange land

“they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.” — Frederick Douglass

February 16, 2020 · Leave a comment

Sandy Solomon: Amédé Ardoin

And now only his voice remains
as it cries through the needle scratch.
Across decades, that voice has entered
our voices: our style, our common despair.

February 3, 2020 · Leave a comment

Sheila Carter-Jones: Running into a high school classmate years after

I was the only, back then Negro, girl
in a class of four hundred waves splashing,
tossing me about in the crash

October 9, 2019 · 1 Comment

Richard Wright: Haiku

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away.

September 6, 2019 · 1 Comment

Video: Segregated by Design

Black ghettos are no accident – how state-sponsored racism shaped US cities.

September 6, 2019 · Leave a comment

Mike Schneider: Father Ted & Voting Rights

Republicans have closed polling places, reduced early voting, purged voter rolls, and added ID requirements. Nearly all these changes are in predominantly African-American districts.

June 5, 2019 · 1 Comment

Shanna B. Tiayon: Serotonin and the Garden of Good Eating

The garden was literally healing me. The low to mild depression I had been cycling in and out of started to break, and I felt lighter, happier, and more self-accepting.

May 4, 2019 · Leave a comment

James Q Whitman: Why the Nazis studied American race laws for inspiration

The US had race-based immigration law, admired by racists all over the world; and the Nazis, like their Right-wing European successors today (and so many US voters) were obsessed with the dangers posed by immigration.

April 24, 2019 · 2 Comments

Video: Terrance Hayes, “American Sonnets For My Past and Future Assassin”

Terrance Hayes discusses his poetry collection, American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin at Politics and Prose in Washington DC on 7/16/18. Written during the first two hundred days … Continue reading

February 24, 2019 · Leave a comment

Leah Penniman: By Reconnecting With Soil, We Heal the Planet and Ourselves

Enslavement and sharecropping cannot erase thousands of years of Black people’s sacred relationship with the land.

February 21, 2019 · Leave a comment

Video: Alone

What would it mean to marry someone behind bars? Directed by Garrett Bradley Running time: 12:19 Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video. … Continue reading

January 21, 2019 · Leave a comment

Liz Brazile: The Power of Sharing Stories

As Joe Clemons was growing up, he used to listen to family members share stories. Some stories were imaginative and rousing, while others were more monotonous. Nevertheless, hearing accounts of … Continue reading

December 22, 2018 · Leave a comment

John Samuel Tieman: The Lynching Museum — A Pilgrimage

Truth and reconciliation are sequential. You can’t have reconciliation until you have truth. — Bryan Stevenson . On the 28 April 1836, the steamboat “Flora” docked in St. Louis. The … Continue reading

August 26, 2018 · Leave a comment

Lucas Johnson: Remembering Dorothy Cotton, freedom educator

Dorothy Cotton was the director of education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the King years. (Twitter / @natcivilrightsmuseum) . On June 10, the world lost another veteran of … Continue reading

June 22, 2018 · 1 Comment

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