In order to celebrate the voices of young local students during Black History Month, Local 4 is working with InsideOut Literary Arts, an organization that helps Detroit’s youth build their literary and academic skills through creative writing.
Below you can read some of the poems written by these local students of various ages in honor of Black History. We’re publishing more throughout the month, so make sure to read them all.
Blackness in America
By Symone (InsideOut Citywide Poets Student)
I wrote my first poem about
Blackness in America.
A poem about
and where it comes from.
I let the ink spill
and it stained paper like blood
when the words appeared.
When my distress began to mimic that
of the first real dead man I ever saw on TV.
I asked the page how many more of these I’ll write.
one for each Black body that lies
across the pavement.
you will never stop writing.
Your fingers will cramp up
every time you watch the news,
the videos will
break you down into nothing.
You will feel your mouth go numb
every time you have to say their names.
You will want to protect every Black body,
but you only have your own.
And you are too scared to lose it.
My notebook should not bleed like this.
But she is right.
I am scared to lose this body.
So I will write until I stop shaking.
I will never stop shaking.
By Demond (InsideOut High School Student)
I’m going to break as many cultural
barriers out there that I can.
I want to be as versatile in my career
as I can be in sports.
I want to be the definition of successful.
When black minorities look at me, I want
them to look up to me.
I want to be every little black boy’s and
girl’s idol, role model, hero.
I want kids to see me as hope.
I want to be the symbol of hope.
I want to be a black hero.
My name is Angel
By Angel (InsideOut Middle School Student)
My name is Angel. I am a black poet
who has death wished upon me too.
I have been silent after each shooting.
I have an arm against my throat.
My words have been drowned out
by the shouting crowd. My name is Trayvon
My name is Michael. My name is murdered,
but my blackness is the headline.
I have been silent for too long. Justice
is my enemy. They have the right
and the power to kill. Covered by
the badge and flashing lights.
They all remain silent, just doing
A Dream Undreamed —after Langston Hughes
by Ashley (InsideOut Elementary Student)
I think that when a dream is undreamed
it floats away like a loose balloon,
it leaves like it never existed.
It is forgotten and sinks to the bottom
of the brain turning gray
with no meaning.
It no longer can be restored
like when you drop food
it can no longer be eaten.
It goes with all the other forgotten dreams
while the ones you remember
stay at the top of the brain
full of color and joy.
To read more of these poems, go to our Inside Out page!
Our Mission: to inspire students to think broadly, create bravely, and share their voices with the wider world.
Since 1995, InsideOut Literary Arts has helped over 65,000 of Detroit’s youth build their literary and academic skills through creative writing.
With initial seed funding from Bob Shaye and the Four Friends Foundation, InsideOut was founded in 1995 by former Detroit Public School teacher Dr. Terry Blackhawk. The name InsideOut was chosen by Dr. Blackhawk’s students.
As Detroit’s largest and oldest literary non-profit, InsideOut now serves more than 100 classrooms and community sites annually. Our professional writers continue to help students experiment with words and learn that each unique voice matters – that there is power in “bringing the inside out.”
Learn more about InsideOut here.