Students write poetry for Black History Month

Local elementary through high school students from InsideOut write moving poetry

InsideOut and Local 4 Celebrate Young Voices

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)

brilliant statistic

ghost in the flesh

ignorant king

genius coon

beautiful monkey

African genocide

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

Sunset Dream

By De’Ja (InsideOut Citywide Poets)

As I lay in sleep

My bedhead imagines birds

Beautiful creatures

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

And exist


To read more of these poems, go to our Inside Out page!


About InsideOut

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.