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Famous African American Poems by Famous Black Poets

Top 100 African American Poems. The best and most popular famous African American Poems of All-Time written by African American poets.

12
by Angelou, Maya
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Children.
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
The power of a gun can kill
and the power of fire can burn
the power of wind can chill
and the power of a mind can learn
the power of anger can rage
inside until it tears u apart
but the power of a smile
especially...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Life through my bloodshot eyes
would scare a square 2 death
poverty,murder,violence
and never a moment 2 rest
Fun and games are few
but treasured like gold 2 me
cuz I realize that I must return
2 my spot in poverty
But mock my words when I say
my...Read More
by Walker, Alice
We alone can devalue gold
by not caring
if it falls or rises
in the marketplace.
Wherever there is gold
there is a chain, you know,
and if your chain
is gold
so much the worse
for you.


Feathers, shells
and sea-shaped stones
are all as rare.


This could be our revolution:
to love...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 I been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
 Snow has friz me,
 Sun has baked me,

Looks like between 'em they done
 Tried to make me

Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
 But I don't care!
 I'm still here!...Read More
by Giovanni, Nikki
Some people forget that love is
tucking you in and kissing you
"Good night"
no matter how young or old you are


Some people don't remember that
love is
listening and laughing and asking
questions
no matter what your age


Few recognize that love is
commitment, responsibility
no fun at all
unless


Love...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
When you come to me, unbidden,
Beckoning me
To long-ago rooms,
Where memories lie.

Offering me, as to a child, an attic,
Gatherings of days too few.
Baubles of stolen kisses.
Trinkets of borrowed loves.
Trunks of secret words,

I cry....Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes....Read More
by Angelou, Maya
(also referred to as The Rock Cries Out To Us Today)

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Sometimes when I'm alone
I Cry,
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.
I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear...Read More
by Walker, Alice
 Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.

The other, the end of a
sure beginning....Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
excuse me but lady liberty needs glasses
and so does mrs justice by her side
both the broads r blind as bats
stumbling thru the system
justice bumbed into mutulu and
trippin on geronimo pratt
but stepped right over oliver
and his crooked partner ronnie
justice stubbed her...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Im going in 2 this not knowing what i"ll find
but I've decided 2 follow my heart and abandon my mind
and if there be pain i know that at least i gave my all
and it's better to have loved and lost...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
 Dark like me-
That is my dream!

To fling my arms...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin'...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
How can there be peace?
How can I be in the depths of solitude
When there are two inside of me?
This duo in me causes the perfect opportunity
To learn and live twice as fast
As those who accept simplicity... ...Read More
by Walker, Alice
Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.


Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress...Read More
by Giovanni, Nikki
If i can't do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don't want
to do


It's not the same thing
but it's the best i can
do


If i can't have
what i want . . . then
my job is to want
what...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To a sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs....Read More
by Angelou, Maya
 A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Take one's adversity
Learn from their misfortune
Learn from their pain
Believe in something
Believe in yourself
Turn adversity into ambition
Now blossom into wealth...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 When a man starts out with nothing,
 When a man starts out with his hands
 Empty, but clean,
 When a man starts to build a world,
He starts first with himself
And the faith that is in his heart-
The strength there,
The...Read More
by Brooks, Gwendolyn
 I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I'll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.

I'll wait until November
That is the time for me.
I'll go out in the frosty dark
And sing most terribly.

And all the...Read More
by Fisher, Antwone
who will cry for the little boy?
Lost and all alone.
Who will cry for the little boy?
Abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the little boy?
He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He never had for keeps.

Who will...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
 Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
Your hands easy
weight, teasing the bees
hived in my hair, your smile at the
slope of my cheek. On the
occasion, you press
above me, glowing, spouting
readiness, mystery rapes
my reason

When you have withdrawn
your self and the magic, when
only the smell of your
love lingers between
my...Read More
by Giovanni, Nikki
You Came, TooI came to the crowd seeking friends  I came to the crowd seeking love  I came to the crowd for understanding    I found you    I came to the crowd to...Read More
by Walker, Alice
The old men used to sing
And lifted a brother
Carefully
Out the door
I used to think they
Were born
Knowing how to
Gently swing
A casket
They shuffled softly
Eyes dry
More awkward
With the flowers
Than with the widow
After they'd put the
Body in
And stood around waiting
In their
Brown suits. ...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides, 
They'll see how beautiful...Read More
by Emanuel, James A
 Four-letter word JAZZ:
naughty, sexy, cerebral,
but solarplexy....Read More
by Brooks, Gwendolyn
 We real cool. We
Left School. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon....Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Young Niggas
Now that i'm grown
i got my mind on
bein sumthin
don't wanna be
anotha statistic
out there doin nothing trying
to maintain in this dirty game
keep it real and I
will even kill me
my young niggaz
stay away from
these dumb niggaz
put down the guns
and have some...Read More
by Shakur, Tupac
Can You See the Pride In the Panther
As he grows in splendor and grace
Topling obstacles placed in the way,
of the progression of his race.
Can You See the Pride In the Panther
as she nurtures her young all alone
The seed must grow...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
Give me your hand

Make room for me
to lead and follow
you
beyond this rage of poetry.

Let others have
the privacy of
touching words
and love of loss
of love.

For me
Give me your hand....Read More
by Angelou, Maya
 I've got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be...Read More
by Brooks, Gwendolyn
 Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them,...Read More
by Angelou, Maya
Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all
 
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all
 
Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all
 
Dragons breathing flame
On...Read More
by Walker, Alice
I have a friend
who is turning gray,
not just her hair,
and I do not know
why this is so.


Is it a lack of vitamin E
pantothenic acid, or B-12?
Or is it from being frantic
and alone?


'How long does it take you to love someone?'
I...Read More
by Hughes, Langston
 Children, I come back today 
To tell you a story of the long dark way 
That I had to climb, that I had to know 
In order that the race might live and grow. 
Look at my face --...Read More
by Brooks, Gwendolyn
 arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies' Betterment
League
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting
Here, there, interrupting, all deep and debonair,
The pink paint on the...Read More
by Giovanni, Nikki
Life Cyclesshe realized  she wasn't one  of life's winners  when she wasn't sure  life to her was some dark  dirty secret that  like some unwanted child  too late for an abortion  was to...Read More
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