POEM FOR MISS OLLIE

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Sister Ollie McClean, surrounded by some Guerrilla Journalism class members, passed away May 27, 2015

 

In ancient times the beginning of lightning bolts

erupt over beautiful women,

rain flowing from the tears and joys of the interpreters of our lives,

their hands on our children,

and their life giving milk from breasts,

women walking in natural African beauty like Miss Ollie,

an African dress wrapped around her body,

jewelry on her ears and wrists pronouncing honor.

She opens the door to Sankofa,

and has the image of a bird flying

while looking backward with an egg

representing the future in its mouth,

since "it is not taboo to go back,

and to fetch what you forgot,"

we go back to our roots

to move forward.

At the same time a Black woman and a Black man,

fleeing 100 police cars are murdered by an officer

who is found "not guilty." The latest crime

against our People.

Peace lovingly the teacher tells us how to come back to ourselves

despite the atrocities and starvations in the name of Arab and European conquests,

she shows pictures of the broken the body of the Sphinx,

a man with the resemblance of Minister Malcolm X.

We behold her smile - thick lips greeting all with encouragement,

we hear her words - swords cutting away lies on all Africans everywhere

in classes and on "Like It Is,"

disemboweling our enemies,

removing tyranny and uplifting by telling our stories of Nile Valley culture.

She says our children are precious,

to be protected and the new royal babies come from a long line of colonizers.

She wishes the families of our murdered People

would stop telling avengers to be quiet.

She writes on the African Burial Ground,

and points out the Sankofa images on the coffins of deceased Africans

whose bones came up during construction work

speak to us now. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom for the descendants of African peoples,

the ones who taught the World to love - witnesses.

Taking our children to the Gullah festivals every summer,

she and her supporters teach the truths of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks,

Dr. Ben, Dr. Clarke, and Dr. Frances Cress Welsing - resist our oppressors endlessly.

We hear the children in her classes recite the names

of all countries in Africa - from Algeria to Zimbabwe.

Where the voyage of fear and violence from the Middle Passage once prevailed,

Africans changed and raped on European ships, heading for other continents,

the knowledge of Sankofa reigns.

She chooses this bird, a symbol of her school,

transporting the past to the present for the future.

"Africa is one of our belongings," a child says,

leaving the school, holding her mother's hand.

Since the door of learning is still open,

Miss Ollie  welcomes a journalism class,

and if we arrive early, she is putting away lessons

beyond the "ABCs".

In the kingdom of the heart,

she is our Mother,

in our memory she still shares milk for our souls,

liberation is a miracle  language that never dries up.

Copyright by Carole Gregory May 27, 2015

 

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