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.
Alternate Names for Black Girls
By Randi (InsideOut High School Student)
the only magic you can see again and again
and still not know how it works
trees banding together for the sake
of their own leaves
and to contain the forest
Alternate Names for Black Boys
By Brandon (InsideOut High School Student)
ghost in the flesh
last of a dying breed
Survive and Thrive
By Dwight (InsideOut High School Student)
Motown has gone through a lot.
Even through the raids.
Black people survived
even through the hate.
How do you think our culture
was made? From the afro
curls to the nappy fade, we are
not just people who fade away.
Alternate Names For Black Boys
By Earl (InsideOut High School Student)
a sun that don’t shine
white moon in a black sky
stars that might fall
please don’t shoot
By De’Ja (InsideOut Citywide Poets)
As I lay in sleep
My bedhead imagines birds
Walking on the blue sky
With their charred teeth
In their petite beaks
With tiny intricate wings
And a spoon-shaped body
Their eyes showing hunger
Like the piercing eyes of a tiger
How could anyone try to change
Such an exquisite thing
Maybe make it have a round body
Sweet innocent eyes
Far spread feathered wings
And a sweet song
This creature far surpasses all others
It can’t fly, yet
It has the audacity to roam among the clouds
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.