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“When I walk, there is a grace about my stride that my clothes can’t hide.”

Zach, 31

Incarcerated: 2 years

The Black Man

I am a man. I am a black man. I am a black man transported from Africa, transformed in America. I am a black man whose roots stretch across the seas to the very land that gave birth to human-kind itself. I am a black man with a spirit and strength in my soul. When I walk, there is a grace about my stride that my clothes can’t hide. While I was building great civilizations, others were still in caves. I used complex equations and methods of construction to build pyramids to marvel. I’m a pacesetter, a record breaker, a co-creator with the creator. I performed the first successful heart surgery. I planned and designed Washington, D.C. I was the first man to set foot on the North Pole. I have scored more goals in basketball than any man in history, and I even broke Babe Ruth’s unbreakable record. I invented jazz to free my imprisoned soul. I was rappin’ before rap, and tappin’ before tap. Rhythm and Blues, I invented that too. The rhythm I received in Africa. The blues I got in America. I was forced to come to a land that was not interested in my strong body. Some tried to kill my mind with ignorance, but I became a master of survival.  I’ve been through slavery, separation, castration, miscegenation, so-called emancipation, Klu-Klux-Klanization, separate but equalization, civil rights legislation, frustration and I am still looking for complete social liberation. When I died, my tombstone read, “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, I am Free at Last.” I am a black man who had to die to truly be free. I can read, I can write, I can speak and oooh can I preach. You see, I am so strong that I can afford to be weak, but so weak that I cannot afford to be without God. For I still have battles to fight in the hearts and the minds of those who would enslave me if they could. So you see, I am a BLACK MAN, but the question is, who are you? 

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