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.
By Alexis (InsideOut High School Student)
Enduring trials patiently
Overachieving all tasks
My Black, The Voice of the Ocean
By Taviona (InsideOut Middle School Student)
My voice is the ocean:
smooth, cold, wet, wavy,
not formed, relaxed,
a water spot on the window.
It’s a sound you can’t get
out of your head,
a sound of bells
when I’m talking to you,
the bells that ring on Christmas.
My Black is tempest.
Take my Black and create art.
My Black is awesome.
My Black is warm.
Use my Black for a color
as you draw, turn my Black
My Black is your favorite outfit,
my Black is your favorite meal.
My Black is your Black and
our Black is awesome.
By Tianna (InsideOut Citywide Poets Student)
Outside there is a rattling of buzzes
and the commotion of flapping wings.
The beetles, the moths, the butterflies, and the bees.
I dreamt of a black sea.
I crushed a white moth under my knee.
Then screamed hallelujah.
I think that is what privilege feels like.
A stinging on the brain, maybe freedom.
I don’t think saying a name is enough.
Enough to stop the buzzing, the chants
of a thousand black bugs or the blood.
I don’t want to lose my hands
or my life to a force of moths.
The moths put on their white hoods,
burn our neighborhoods down.
Years later they rip through our throats,
knees on our necks, dressed in blue
they call us thugs.
A soft word for n*****
Saying a name is not enough.
Master’s Great Grandson
By Al Ahzar (InsideOut High School Student)
My history’s fault
must trail deep within my roots
for I am its fruit
My Life is a Rubik’s Cube
By Billie (InsideOut High School Student)
My life is a Rubik’s Cube
that not many can crack.
My skin is armor
you can’t get past.
My voice is a bullhorn
that can blow through any crowd
My spirit is a Christmas carol
that leaves a mark on the present and past.
My dreams are a to-do list
I must complete.
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.