The Buford City Schools Diversity and Inclusion Program decided to host an inaugural Black History Month Poetry Contest. This was a way for students to not only learn about black history, but for them to make their voices heard through the art of poetry.
The contest was open to all Buford City Schools students in grades sixth through 12th. Contestants were able to submit their original poems that could not be longer than one page typed out by the Feb. 15 deadline.
The top three poems were selected for both Buford Middle School and Buford High School. These six poems were read out loud during the February meeting of the Buford City Schools Board of Education by the student authors.
The North Gwinnett Voice is honored to share the works of these talented authors through their original poems celebrating Black History Month.
— Staff Reports
Buford High School — First place winner
“What Black History Means to Me”
By Hailey Conwell, ninth grade
They think I’m an animal tho they only see skin
The people before me know what kind of situation I’m in
They spat in our faces and told us we’re trash
I want not this future, tho it’s been a consistent past
Freedom was once only a song a slave could sing
That same slave probably never knew his ancestors were kings
We braided our hair to help us lead the way
On a path that would somehow lead our people to a joyous day
We were taken from kingdoms to come and be slaves
Our names and our cultures they worked hard to erase
Our bodies, our hair, and our features aren’t worthy of the spotlight
But when a girl with milky skin has them these standards change overnight
They called my people a hateful word that starts with the letter N
They did things to us that should be considered a sin
We protested for our rights, they were taken not given
Our leaders such as Malcolm X were determined and driven
Our people worked hard from July to December
And produced moments in history we will always remember
They tell us “that was a long time ago” and to” just get over it”
Ruby Bridges was the first to desegregate schools
If it was that long ago how is she only 66
My people, my leaders, my mentors, my community
All bring and mean something that is special to me
We made heavenly meals out of what was considered trash
We worked hard in fields for hours and got nothing-no cash
My people stood up for what they knew was right
When injustice strikes we unafraid to stand up and fight
We push through in all conditions especially the ones that are unfair
I love my ebony features, my Nubian skin, and my kinky hair
I love that my skin glows in the sun
I adore that my hair so versatile- I can go from box braids to a bun
From as dark as night to the color of the sunlight
I’m amazed at how one group of people could be so bright
It’s endearing that so many pieces of history
can come together and make something that means so much to me.
Buford High School — Second place winner
By Nyszjaylah Cunningham, 11th grade
Black Girl, skin like gold, coiled hair that Defies
gravity with soft kisses from the ancestors.
Black Girl, A goddess like deity Oshun, she shines bright, filled with sweet water love.
Black Girl, the blueprint of fashion, the deity of hustle who leaves glitter when she walks.
Black Girl, my heart goes to you, you inspire me with your walk and by your talk.
Black Girl, full brown lips, wide curvy hips, long, colorful, expensive nail tips.
Black Girl, Breonna, Sandra, Kamala, Michelle, Lupita, Serena, Stacy & more.
Black Girl, Society may try to break you as a whole, but never your beautiful soul.
Black Girl, Box braids, cornrows, doogro, twist, wigs, hot comb, locs, you have it all
Black Girl, Lightskin, Brownskin, Darkskin, Albino, Blonde, the most genetically Diverse.
Black Girl, under years of a chained oppression, you still keep your head up and continue to strive for life the life you were always destined.
Black Girl, skin like gold, coiled hair that defines gravity with soft kisses from the ancestors.
Buford High School — Third place winner
“The Colors of Justice”
By Tatum Ozment, 11th grade
A picture is painted on the canvas of time
Raised on a gallery of a million voices
Brought to bright life by raised fists
Breathed into history by the marching of feet
And it says more than a thousand words ever could.
There are the lines of color at Selma,
The streaks of red and the golds of determination,
Then there is the whirring of harmonies of the buses in Montgomery,
Its inhabitants sitting inside a pool of peace,
reflecting its battle cry in a warm, tranquil song
that sang to the nation without a single punch thrown
The March on Washington flutters into view,
The sunlight glinting against the water the way that justice glinted into the future,
And these images all come together in its glorious picture
Inspiring those artists of the next generation
Inspiring those artists that still paint now
Inspiring those artists that still breathe the colors of justice.
For there was always paint left to add to the picture
Always more story to tell
Always more hope to be applied
Always more fight to go on
And it triumphed
And the picture still glows on today
All in its glorious vitality.
Buford Middle School — First place winner
“Fire of Legacy”
By Ava Jones, eighth grade
Brought by boat, my ancestors came
Unknowing, they started a flame
Being tossed and turned on the deep blue sea,
It would take a long time for them to be set free
They worked as slaves, day and night
But they never gave up the fight
Courageous people nurtured the flame
Like Tubman, Douglass, Lincoln all wanting the same
The Civil War started
The flame growing strong
The Emancipation Proclamation came
Then the war ended
Putting slavery to shame
Centuries later, the fight isn’t done
Activists knew and continued the flame
Obstacles drizzled on the fire
But they continued, not wanting the future to be dire
Here we are now
The fight still going
The flame still glowing
It won’t stop until it has won
Racism is gone and we are all one
Buford Middle School — Third place winner
“Black History Leaders and Legends”
By Deion Miller, eighth grade
We celebrate Black History this month, but we already know,
that Black History goes back a very, long, long time ago.
With a lot of good faith and great focus too,
Black people have excelled, and it’s more than just a few.
Obama was the first black president number 44,
Who created many opportunities that opened the door.
Oh but look, there’s Kamala the first woman vice president,
She has shown many young girls what hard work has meant.
Martin Luther King Jr’s, “I have a Dream” speech,
Stems from many sermons he did preach.
Next, Michael Jordan the G.O.A.T of basketball,
Who jumped over defenders and made them look oh so small.
Also, Rosa Parks boycotted a bus,
She wouldn’t give up her seat which caused a great big fuss.
Harriet Tubman led hundreds of slaves to be free,
The Underground Railroad really helped them flee.
Finally, I can’t forget about Deion Sanders the great defensive back,
Who blitzed the Quarterback and got many sacks.
Black history is more than a month you see,
It shows many children they can choose what they want to be.