Tag Archives: Immigrant

Let America Be America Again

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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Separating Families: Your Indifference Speaks Volumes… History Repeats Itself

The plight of immigrant children on the US-Mexico border who are taken from their parents is a national tragedy and a disgrace. The greatest nation on earth should be able to deal with this situation in a more humane way. We, as Americans, believe we have higher standards, morals, and decency as a people than the other nations of the world. Therefore, the American system of government and our law-making abilities should be able to provide relief for this situation in this time of need. The Pledge of Allegiance still stands for one nation, under God, with for liberty, and justice for all. Yet, none of the ideals just mentioned are any help to people who are trying to get to our country to see if America is what it claims to be.

Recently, our current political climate has been referred to Germany as Nazi rule overtook the country. While this could be accurate, we have even better examples of events in our history that mirror today’s treatment of immigrants (or in some cases American citizens). In each of these events, it was a lack of empathy by some Americans that led to and allowed the mistreatment of other people. It was a lack of will to speak up against the mistreatment of other people. It was a spirit of indifference that helped cause the mistreatment of other people.

Today, if you are not aware of the plight of people and their children who are trying to enter the United States, I am accusing you of having a spirit of indifference. Today, if you are not moved in any way by the reports and pictures of children separated from their parents, I am accusing you of having a lack of empathy. Today, if you are not speaking up against these acts, I am accusing you of having a lack of compassion. I know you are well within your rights to be unconcerned about this issue. Who am I to tell you to care? If you are aware of the situation, yet unmoved by the unfolding events on our southern border I question your humanity.

The Constitution of United States of America was ratified in 1787. Yet the words of the Constitution did not apply to many people who were in the country. Slavery existed in southern states for 80 years. During that time, many Americans were outraged by the practice, showed compassion and empathy for slaves, and fought for their freedom. Many people did not because they profited from slavery. Others simply accepted the “Peculiar Institution”. Some people tolerated slavery as long as it stayed in the South. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to slavery are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

Handbill Warning of Fugitive Slave Laws

 

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 allowed the United Stated Government to forcibly remove Native Americans who lived in certain areas. Their removal would allow American settlers to have their land. As a result, American Indians who resided in many areas for hundreds of years, were relocated to some of the most desolate and useless land on the American continent. They were powerless, and they called their forced journey the “Trail of Tears” due to the hardships and deaths they experienced along the way. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to Indian Removal are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

Trail of tears

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

The Japanese Internment occurred during World War II, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. American citizens who were of Japanese origin were forcibly put in internment camps against their will. This was to protect our country from Japanese spies who may perform act against our country. We were at war with Japan, so extra precautions were required. However, many citizens loyal to the United States were captured. Of course, they provisions were minimal and barely enough to keep them alive. Once again, many people disagreed with the practice of internment. However, others wanted revenge against Japan, and used Japanese Americans as pawns to get their revenge. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to The Japanese Internment are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

japanese-internment-1-728

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

After the practice of separating children from their parents on the US-Mexico border is ended, it will be recorded by history. It will end, because eventually the will and spirit of America and its people will win. Eventually our decency as a nation and our application of justice overrules injustice. Eventually our moral compass and character overpowers our tendency to temporarily lose sight of our creed. Eventually the American ideal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness overcomes the stains on our nation’s history like slavery, the Indian Removal, The Japanese Internment, and the US-Mexico refugee crisis.

Maybe this time, we as a people will use this recorded history to prevent the next situation like this. But then again, maybe we will not. After all, we did not learn after the lessons taught by slavery in America. We did not learn after the lessons taught by Indian removal in America. We did not learn after the lessons taught by the Japanese Internment. I hope we do learn from the lessons taught by the US-Mexico border crisis. On a personal level, your personal history will record your decisions as this crisis, and others to come, affect our nation and world. What is your opinion about the refugee crisis? What is your stance? What did you do about it? What did you learn?

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.
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