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A poem by Dr. Abdoulie Sallah





Reflections on the recent tragedies and protests.


In light of the ongoing efforts of protesters worldwide against the systemic racism and systemic violence, corruption, and authoritarianism of police forces, The BlackQuaker Project shares the following poem by Dr. Abdoulie Sallah. Dr. Sallah is a senior lecturer of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior at Coventry University, UK. He is committed to challenging hegemonic norms of capitalist infrastructure and defending networks of mutual aid in communities of the Global South. Below is his beautiful poetry on Black strength and resilience. We are grateful to our friend, pan-Africanist Ade Olayia, Nigerian graduate student in the UK and UNESCO researcher, for bringing it to our attention.


I AM A BLACK MAN

I am a black man

I am what I was born to be

I am what I am

I am what I will always be

A black man


You may know me as a Nigga

Some of you may know me as a Negro

Others may know me as a person of colour

But I am what I am

And what I will always be

A black man


You may not identify with my identity

You may not live my life

You may not dwell in my disposition

You may not recognise my reality

For I am what I am

And what I will always be

A black man


You may not want me to be the embodiment of the highest ideals of human aspiration

But to be at the back heap of human aspiration

You may not want me to overcome to become

You may not want me to become to overcome

You may not want me to be resolute but be dissolute

You may not want me to live with dignity but to live in custody

For who I am

And what I will always be

A black man


I am a black father

I am a black brother

I am a black son

I am a black husband

I am a black member of the human race

For I am what I am

And what I will always be

A black man


I am neither a crime nor a criminal

I am neither anger nor an aggressor

I am neither evil nor the devil

I am neither danger nor dangerous

I am neither violence nor violent

I am neither hopeless nor useless

I am neither a toxin nor an intoxicant

I am neither an imbecile nor imbecilic

I am neither stupidity nor stupid

Although I am what I am

What I will always be

A black man


I am intelligent

I am strong

I am beautiful

I am positive

I am gentle

And yes I am a black man

What I was born to be

And what I will always be


I do not need your validation

I do not need your legitimisation

I do not need your patronisation

To be what I am

What I was born to be

And what I will always be

A black man


By Dr. Abdoulie Sallah


ABOUT US >

The BlackQuaker Project (1) celebrates the lives and contributions of Quakers of Color worldwide and (2) documents and addresses their concerns. It is an outreach and in-reach ministry of Wellesley Friends Meeting, guided by the Quaker testimonies of Truth, Peace, Equality, Community, and Justice.

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