Freedom’s Plow and Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

As a man of color, I have been struck deeply by the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death and while I don’t find it necessary to rehash or argue the details of his death I can say this for sure;  being a young, Black man in America can be a scary way of walking through the world, especially considering the profiling that occurs in law enforcement and by society at large.  I refuse to see this event as the catalyst to burgeon an “us vs. them” mentality even if others see it that way.  I hope that the Martin family will find peace and that ultimately  justice will be served.  In addition, I hope that several states around this country will revisit their policies/laws on the “stand your ground” principle.

Without getting too political, I will say that the United States has a troubled history of discriminating and violently controlling people of every race.  To me, this is shameful considering the cumulative efforts of all groups to make this country a place of peace and freedom.  That being said, we are a work in progress and Utopia is far from here.  I have hope that our country will continue to grow in our compassion and love for one another and unlearn these divisions that have troubled us for so long.  With this, I am reminded of a Langston Hughes poem named “Freedom’s Plow” which reminds me of this shared history and re-instilled some hope in my heart.  Here’s an excerpt:

America!
Land created in common,
Dream nourished in common,
Keep your hand on the plow! Hold on!
If the house is not yet finished,
Don’t be discouraged, builder!
If the fight is not yet won,
Don’t be weary, soldier!
The plan and the pattern is here,
Woven from the beginning
Into the warp and woof of America:
ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.
NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH
TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN
WITHOUT HIS CONSENT.
BETTER DIE FREE,
THAN TO LIVE SLAVES.
Who said those things? Americans!
Who owns those words? America!
Who is America? You, me!
We are America!
To the enemy who would conquer us from without,
We say, NO!
To the enemy who would divide
And conquer us from within,
We say, NO!
FREEDOM!
BROTHERHOOD!
DEMOCRACY!
To all the enemies of these great words:
We say, NO!

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