Monday, January 18, 2016

THE MAN FROM ATLANTA

We can't allow this day to end without honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.






The Man From Atlanta
 by G.L. Wallace 
(reprinted with the permission of Carol Wallace-Conner)

When the man from Atlanta passed through the portals of
Ebenezer Baptist Church, into the harsh blinding
light of America's racist reality,

Rosa Parks took his hand;

And there a people made a stand that set a whole nation
into motion from the streets of Montgomery, Alabama;
They did a slow dance together; it was hard in the 

beginning because they had forgotten the steps and
had trouble learning the tune;

But they danced and they danced, and they were winning soon,
and there evolved a whole new Black wave of dancing and
singing that had been lost in the centuries of chains

weighing on the feet of bondmen;

Hope took over from fear and let a new people appear, proud
and determined, they turned a nation around, to look in
the mirror of itself, and relisten to the pseudo-sick-sweet

words of liberty and death, uttered with faltering breath;

When the dancer's feet slowed with fatigued-progress, they
asked, "How long?" and the man from Atlanta said, "Not long,
no lie can live forever;" When they thought they heard

him wrong and they asked again, "How long?"

"Not long, even a nation shall still reap what it sows; the moral
arm of the universe reaches out but it still bends
towards justice;"  justice, way down yonder in the land

of cotton, where the very word had been forgotten and

An age old regime of disenfranchisement lay preserved in
Mississippi mud; the dancers came to Mississippi on
winds of change so profound, that they brought the

governor's mansion crumbling to the ground;

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York state;
let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado;
let freedom ring from Pennsylvania's Alleghenies and

Look Out Mountain in Tennessee;

And a great gathering there will be when Black and white,
Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, shall join
hands and sing in the words of that old spiritual from

the past: Free at last, free at last;
thank God a'mighty I'm free at last;

Oh to be a dancer and sing all sorts of songs! at Selma Bridge,
Ain't Nobody Gonne Turn Me Around; by the dogs of Birmingham,
We Shall Not Be moved; in Washington D.C.,

We shall Over Come;  "Are you tired sister?" marching along 
beside me, seventy years old and Black;
She says, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested."

Oh, to be a dancer and sing all sorts of songs; when I must
meet the most common denominator of us all, to dance my
final dance and sing my final song, don't say too many

words over me, please don't talk too long

Of plastic prizes, and planetary awards and degrees of education;
for I've been to the mountain top, and I've seen the promised
land; so when you speak of me after I'm gone try to make

them understand -- that I loved somebody;

That I could study war no more, but will beat my swords into
plowshares and spears into pruning hooks; if they ask the
meaning of my life, and you must give an answer, say that

I labored in the vineyards of the Lord as a singer and a dancer;

For an assassin's bullet in Memphis can not kill a dancer;
an assassin's bullet will never pierce the armor of his
soul; an assassin's bullet will never touch the spirit of

the dancer moving in our hearts, cleft as the rock of ages
to hold him;

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin? I been kind of
missin' him lately; can you tell me where he's gone?
Birmingham, Chicago, Jackson, New York, Memphis;

he freed a lot of people, but the good they die young;

When the man from Atlanta stepped from the hallow sanctuary
of Ebenezer Baptist Church, a troubled world grasped his
hand; he sang with them, danced with them, prayed with them,

freed some folks, LOVED SOMEBODY,
then we just looked around and he was gone. 




*Not to be reprinted or distributed without the permission of the copyright holder, Carol Wallace-Conner.

18 comments:

  1. This is beautiful and humbling to read

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  2. Lovely
    http://shilpachandrasekheran.blogspot.in/?m=1

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  3. Absolutely astounding. Sometimes I forget the power of poetry. This helps remind me how moving words can be when arranged properly, much as MLK was able to do. A fitting tribute.

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    Replies
    1. Mr. Wallace is no longer with us. He did a great deal of work with the public schools in Milwaukee.

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  4. How we could benefit from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s wisdom today! He was an amazing man! -xo Nellie

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    Replies
    1. We can benefit from reading his speeches, watching documentaries about him, and living his beliefs.

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  5. A great reminder of how much we lose when a man of vision is taken from us (such as M.L. King, and others killed by men of lesser value).

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  6. Replies
    1. You can just say whatever you want at my blog, dear Jo-Anne.

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