Mama Till

by Wiseone


(In memory of Mamie Till-Mobley, who passed on January 6, 2003) 

Mama Till bared the weight
Mama Till bared the weight for forty-seven years
Forty-seven years of being a civil rights icon
Forty-seven years of being a civil rights icon
because of the death of her son, Emmitt
Mama Till bared the weight of wishing she had never been made 
a civil rights icon
And perhaps, too, wishing she had never been made a black mother
who had given birth to a black boy in white America
Regretting she had sent her boy into harms way
Into a city called Money, a state named Mississippi, 
In a nation calling herself the leader of the free world
But she was not free
Mama Till was a black mother in fear 
Mama Till bared the weight of passed down fear
Fear passed down from Jim Crow era mothers
Fear passed down from American apartheid era mothers
Fear passed down from lynching era mothers
Fear passed down from Great Migration era mothers
Fear passed down from post-Reconstruction era mothers
Fear passed down from false freedom era mothers
Fear passed down from chattel slavery era mothers
Fear passed down from Denmark Vessey, Gabriel Prosser, Nat Turner era mothers
Fear passed down from Middle Passage era mothers
Fear passed down from African mothers whose cross-generational maternal instinct
understood on the first day what the coming of the strangers would mean
Mama Till bared the weight of all black mothers
who fear what will become of their children in America
Mama Till bared it all, but she tried to overcome
Mama Till tried to overcome by sending her only son
By sending her only child to the wild, wild, south of 1955 America
And she paid the price
She paid the price by baring the weight
Baring the weight of forty-seven years
Forty-seven years of being a civil rights icon
Forty-seven years of being a civil rights icon
because of the death of her son, Emmitt
Mama Till bared the weight of wishing
she had never been made a civil rights icon
But now, Mama Till has laid her burden down
And in her passing, passes it on to those of us who remain
ůmay we be so strong 


Mama Till by Wiseone

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.



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