The Dixie Death
By ’n by, way down South
that sleepy ole antebellum way
of honky life got laid low —
had to kowtow to a new master
whose color was darker
with features more Africana.
A newfound integrity
has ultimately laid low
the ole mint julep on the front porch days
cuz the good ole boys
and gals got laid on them
by the sands of time
a rectified blend of African charm
and a revolutionary new testament of grace.
But the racist honkies
took a long damn time to
figure that part out.
So they were in for a long hard
they didn’t know it yet.
Black folks knew the lesson would be
‘cuz they’d been livin’ it for over 400
though it took them a while to figure out
just how stubborn and contrary the whites
when they got that deer-in-the-lights look
in their eyes.
Things got serious
after Brother Medgar was assassinated
in his own front yard
after speakin at the New Jerusalem
the ancient soulful cry of Rachel
weeping for her children was heard
all along the magnolia boulevards
and carefully-tended camellia pathways of white
privilege . . .
here, there and yonder
throughout the black community
Brother Medgar had caught a glimpse
of the Promised Land,
but he never got there
like Brother Martin never got there.
there was a burning bush down south
where they lived and breathed
and had their being
and worked tirelessly among their people.
Sister Anne, during her last week
at Tougaloo College
accompanied a small group
of intrepid black folk to order luncheon
at a downtown dime-store lunch counter,
following the example of them bruthas
a few years earlier.
Brother Medgar’s call,
Brother Martin’s call
for voter registration
and just plain-ole freedom
and dignity and justice
was ringin’ out!
from the red clay hills of Georgia
among the magnolias and
of the Deep South,
formerly thought to be the Solid
before it got fracked with a fresh
delirium tremens of
and got run outa town
by the great grandsons and daughter
of former slaves.
As the dews of Dixie used to drop on us
so are the pages of that history long-gone
droppin’ down on us
as a decadent dust
cast on us:
Ole mint julep on the front porch white
privilege been sho’nuff proven wrong,
laid down low
in the dust heap of history
Yessir, that Ole South system is now long gone;
but for it I wouldn’t give you a damn dime
’cause the weight of that abuse could not go on
as it broke the back of American liberty
liberty just tryin’
tryin’ to be free!
The weight of our abuse came all tumblin’ down on us
with Rosa’s resolve — her courageous dignity.
She refused to go to the back of the bus,
and so sparked the long-slow death
of segregation integration
in this nation
land of the free
home of the brave:
Rosa’s refusal changed the course history.
But in some ways
we still be traipsin’ along
on that Edmund Pettis bridge
with Abraham, Martin, and John Lewis
seen the long hard-won legacy of Sister Rosa?
heard the death cry of Brutha George?