The Marblehead Racial Justice Team hosted a special session in celebration of National Poetry Month this past Monday, during which Marblehead students were able to showcase their work and their love for poetry.
“These are poets whose voices have often been silenced and feel they have been silenced,” Lindsay Smith, one of the event’s hosts, said as she introduced the students. Performers had the choice of reading their own work or that of poets they admired.
The session began with a student reading “Harlem” by American poet, social activist, and novelist Langston Hughes. “Harlem” was published in 1951 and has had much influence since then. Hughes’ work was centered around the working class and African Americans in poverty.
Students also read “The Black Family Pledge” written by Maya Angelou. The poem highlights the importance of cultural values and heritage in African American families.
The poem “Sympathy,” published in 1899 by Paul Laurence Dunbar, was also read. This poem uses the metaphor of a caged bird to describe the predicaments of African Americans who are hindered by white oppression.
“Choices” by Nikki Giovanni and “If the World Stopped to Listen,” a poem written by student Nina Johnson based on interviews about gender inequality experiences, concluded the powerful poetic presentation.