Skip to main content

Photo: Rubbie Hodge

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Scream!
A Cry for Reparations

Oh, do you hear me?
I cannot rest in peace…
Through eons and centuries, I have cried out,
“Oh, why do you not honor my suffering?”
Oh, why do you not raise your voices in unison
to decry the pain and struggles of your ancestors;
those who came before?
In your reticent reaction to my cries and pain
You have buried me…
My voice is stifled by your silence
Have you forgotten?
On floors of earth is where I lay my head
from a day’s toil in fields
fertilized with my sweat and blood; your blood…
Have you forgotten?
In structures of rusted metal, naked, is where I stood
waiting to be sold.
“Oh, why do you not honor my suffering?”
Have you forgotten?
On pointed stakes rested the heads of souls
willing to fight…
giving their last breath; giving their life for freedom.
“Oh, why do you not honor my suffering?”
Limbs lost, flesh burned
in the processing of sugar cane
Hands on fire from the rhythmic pull of yields
from the true master of misery – cotton!
Signifying the white plantation owners’
steady decline into insanity, inhumanity.
Have you forgotten?
Cramped quarters with bodies chained side by side
a queue of black royalty; the best and the strongest;
those who could survive the death ships
Treated worse than beasts…
Crossing the Atlantic…
Have you forgotten?

Rubbie Hodge



IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.