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Poetry FridayDuring my first year of teaching fifth grade, I introduced this poem to my students while preparing them for a trip called “Bridges and Boundaries: African-American and American-Jewish Relations” (at the Jewish Museum). We talked about what it meant to be equal in this country. A deep discussion ensued.

I hope you become inspired to use this poem as a springboard for a discussion in your own classroom.

Equality by Maya Angelou

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and making time.
You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I’m just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand?
We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you’ve heard me crying,
and admit you’ve seen my tears.
Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb through my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Poetry Friday is at Writing and Ruminating this week.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

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