A Day to Remember

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Nov. 4

            Today would be a day I shall never forget.

            I woke up early. Tangelique had to go to the dentist, so I had to walk, Appollonia, our Corgi. At the dog park, she played with a couple of dogs and seemed content. As we were leaving, Malaci, a miniature Lassie-looking dog came over, and one of Appi’s playmates came over. So they ran around for a good little while. I somehow made it to my 10 a.m. Lit class, where we discussed the poetry of Paul Lawrence Dunbar. We read “Chrismus On The Plantation Christmas, “The Haunted Oak,” and “We Wear the Mask.” We had a real nice discussion on “The Haunted Oak.” Check it out. Let me know what you think.

            (Pray why are you so bare, so bare,

Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;

And why, when I go through the shade you throw,

Runs a shudder over me?

My leaves were green as the best, I trow,

And sap ran free in my veins,

But I say in the moonlight dim and weird

A guiltless victim’s pains.

They’d charged him with the old, old crime,

And set him fast in jail:

Oh, why does the dog howl all night long,

And why does the night wind wail?

He prayed his prayer and he swore his oath,

And he raised his hand to the sky;

But the beat of hoofs smote on his ear,

And the steady tread drew nigh.

Who is it rides by night, by night,

Over the moonlit road?

And what is the spur that keeps the pace,

What is the galling goad?

And now they beat at the prison door,

“Ho, keeper, do not stay!

We are friends of him whom you hold within,

And we fain would take him away

“From those who ride fast on our heels

With mind to do him wrong;

They have no care for his innocence,

And the rope they bear is long.”

They have fooled the jailer with lying words,

They have fooled the man with lies;

The bolts unbar, the locks are drawn,

And the great door open flies.

Now they have taken him from the jail,

And hard and fast they ride,

And the leader laughs low down in his throat,

As they halt my trunk beside.

 

Oh, the judge, he wore a mask of black,

And the doctor one of white,

And the minister, with his oldest son,

Was curiously bedight.

Oh, foolish man, why weep you now?

‘Tis but a little space,

And the time will come when these shall dread

The mem’ry of your face.

I feel the rope against my bark,

And the weight of him in my grain,

I feel in the throe of his final woe

The touch of my own last pain.

And never more shall leaves come forth

On the bough that bears the ban;

I am burned with dread, I am dried and dead,

From the curse of a guiltless man.

And ever the judge rides by, rides by,

And goes to hunt the deer,

And ever another rides his soul

In the guise of a mortal fear.

And ever the man he rides me hard,

And never a night stays he;

For I feel his curse as a haunted bough,

On the trunk of a haunted tree.)

            At noon we looked at the Emancipation Proclamation in my slavery class, followed by a look at the art of Kara Walker and Ishmael Reed’s novel, “Flight to Canada,” in Carpio’s Humor class. Can’t find the poem online that opens the book. If you get a chance, check it out.

            The day was still going along very nicely. Stopped by Mr. Bartleys and had Michelle Obama burger. Very spicy.

            In my Spike Lee section at 3 p.m., we discussed the opening of “Do the Right Thing,” particularly the music. I got into a nice debate with a student who was offended that Chuck D. in the classic, “Fight the Power,” labeled the great Elvis Presley a racist. I told him, in a nutshell, that for the most part, people like Chuck, or the characters in DTRT could care less about Elvis, which is what was being expressed.  I didn’t get into the whole, “black people can shine my shoes,” controversy, which is probably an urban myth, but you get the point.

            We actually read “Fight the Power,” as a poem. Check it out and read it as a poem.

(1989 the number another summer (get down)

Sound of the funky drummer

Music hittin’ your heart cause I know you got soul

(Brothers and sisters, hey)

Listen if you’re missin’ y’all

Swingin’ while I’m singin’

Givin’ whatcha gettin’

Knowin’ what I know

While the Black bands sweatin’

And the rhythm rhymes rollin’

Got to give us what we want

Gotta give us what we need

Our freedom of speech is freedom or death

We got to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say

Fight the power

 

Chorus

 

As the rhythm designed to bounce

What counts is that the rhymes

Designed to fill your mind

Now that you’ve realized the prides arrived

We got to pump the stuff to make us tough

from the heart

It’s a start, a work of art

To revolutionize make a change nothin’s strange

People, people we are the same

No we’re not the same

Cause we don’t know the game

What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless

You say what is this?

My beloved lets get down to business

Mental self defensive fitness

(Yo) bumrush the show

You gotta go for what you know

Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say…

Fight the Power

 

Chorus

 

Elvis was a hero to most

But he never meant shit to me you see

Straight up racist that sucker was

Simple and plain

Mother fuck him and John Wayne

Cause I’m Black and I’m proud

I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped

Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps

Sample a look back you look and find

Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check

Don’t worry be happy

Was a number one jam

Damn if I say it you can slap me right here

(Get it) lets get this party started right

Right on, c’mon

What we got to say

Power to the people no delay

To make everybody see

In order to fight the powers that be

(Fight the Power)

            So, after classes. I went to the Lippman House to watch the election coverage. I had to duck down to the Lab for a second and do my blog for the Gates/ Higginbotham class.  It was a response to the “Politics of Respectability” and Bill Cosby. I will explain the “Politics of Respectability,” a concept developed by Higginbotham.

            Anyway, it is crazy in here. Tons of food. All of the international students are eager to watch and experience the American electoral process. Kids are running around. Pizza is everywhere. The television is load, but we can’t hear anything.

            At 8:44 p.m., everyone cheered when CNN declared Pennsylvania for Obama. The crowd here is overwhelmingly for Obama, as is the whole campus and pretty much the whole city.  All day in class people spoke of viewing parties and the possibility of witnessing history. Almost everybody wore Obama or voting t-shirts or their “I voted” sticker.

            By 9 p.m., CNN was already writing McCain’s obit.

            As states start to come in, people react at the results. Margie lamented West Virginia’s tally, while Andrea cheered at 9:30 when CNN showed up in the blue column. Obama is winning my home state of North Carolina. I don’t know what to say about Georgia. John King’s magic board is looking pretty blue.  By 10:30 p.m. half of the crowd was in another room watching the Daily Show. Obama was leading McCain 207-135.

 

            At 11 p.m., Obama took Virginia. He now leads 220-135. Fifty points to go.

            Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States.

            I can truly say I never thought I would see this day. People here – journalists all of us – are literally stunned silent. There was a giant yell when the results were announced, then everything went quite. People are on their cell phones. I called my mom. Trying to call Cedric and Shelton. My man Roland Martin on CNN brought tears to my eyes. Words can’t truly express how amazing this is.

            Remember this Day. Nov. 4, 2008.

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Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 4:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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