by William Ernest Henley, 1875
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as a pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the blugeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishements the scroll,
I am the Master of my Fate
I am the Captain of my Soul.
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you are
losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But making allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waitng,
Or being lied about and don't deal in lies,
Or being hated and don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look to good, nor talk to wise,
If you can dream and not make dreams your master,
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same,
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twised by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken
And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools,
If you can make one heap of all yopur winnings,
And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss,
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: "Hold On!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And which is more
You'll be a Man, my Son!
The Man Who Thinks He Can
If you think your beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you dont
If you like to win but think you can't
Its almost a sinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, your lost
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellows will
Its all in a state of mind.
If you think your out-classed you are
You got to think high to rise
You got to be sure of yourself
Before you'll ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can!
A Divine Beginning
Written by: Alexandria Ferguson
Miss Black and Gold 1998-1999
Beta Iota Chapter, Winston-Salem
Before the land was toiled and man was created,
seven jewels evolved from the very hands of God.
Lord and Jewel Henry Auther Callis, Lord and Jewel Charles Henry
Chapman, Lord and Jewel Eugene Kinkle Jones, Lord and Jewel George
Biddle Kelly, Lord and Jewel Nathanial Allison Murray, Lord and Jewel
Robert Harold Ogle, and Lord and Jewel Vertner Woodson Tandy walked the
earth in search of a place to create man.
They stopped in the land of Africa,
because they knew that it was the divine and blessed soils.
The seven wonders of the world stood upon the pyramids and placed the
golden stars on a blanket of blackness, and sat upon the sphinx and
created the first of the first, the Alphaman.
From the eternal dust of time you were molded and created,
the twinkle in your eyes created the sun and the moon.
The radiance in your smile became the heat of the sun,
and your sweat evolved into the greatest oceans known to man.
You blew into the air and the wind began to move,
you spoke and your tongue became the language of our people.
With authority and pride you moved your hand across this great
landscape and the soils, mountain ranges, and trees formed.
You my Alphaman looked to the heavens and the seven wonders said, "Job
well done. You will forever aim for manly deeds, scholarship, and love
for all mankind. You now hold in your hand the keys to the world. The
three keys to success."
Your pride and undying love created a woman.
You made her noble, ambitious, and highly respected.
You created an Angel. Black for her skin and gold for her soul.
You made her unconquerable, she is worthy to be praised.
She looks in your face and finds her own existence.
You blessed her to have the sweet fragrance and divine beauty of the yellow rose.
She is there to assist you on your march toward the light.
You are the Alphaman, the first of the first.
You are the black man, the earth, and this great worlds pride.
You are the origin of all existence.
Through the storms of persecution, you never lost sight of the light.
The pure, divine, and most honored light.
You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.
You are the divine Alphaman, and you continue to march
onward and upward toward the light.
Truly the first of the first and a divine beginning.
This poem was written and submitted by:
Daphne' Freeman of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
Across the golden sands of Egypt seven jewels kneeled before the sphinx
Taking the vow, first men of Greekdom you are the Alpha, the beginning link
Nubian princes armed with the shield of truth
These African kings are profoundly blessed with all of the virtues of youth
Soldiers that guard and preserve the rich culture in the pyramids of Egypt
Deserve first place in African royalty and God has bestowed this gift
A conception that took nineteen hundred and six years, producing men of wisdom strength and power
Bringing fourth peace, elegance and love these men exhibit infinite dignity and valor.
The Nubian princes live among kings, distinguished brothers of the black and gold
The men are rare with dispositions as calm as the sea and spirits ice cold
These African kings are the brothers to Nefertiti and the sons of Cleopatra
Our Greek royalty exists transcending time
With decorated and honored Men of Alpha Phi Alpha
Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou, 1978
"For all the Beautiful Ladies out there!"
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 my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the hope and the dream of the slave.
I'm not Giving My Black Back!
by: Jewel Diamond Taylor
This poem is dedicated to all the Beautiful Black Women out there!
I'm Not Giving My Black Back! I'm Not Giving My Black Back!
I'm not giving up my greens or my grits or
saying "girl" and putting my hands on my hips. You see...
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair and I'm not giving up Rosa Parks,
Fannie Lou Hamner, Mary McCleod Bethune, Sojourner Truth, Madame C J.
Walker, Toni Morrison or Dr. Maya Angelou, 'cause you see,
I am a phenomenal woman and I'm not giving my black back.
I'm not giving up my crown, waves, braids, curls, locks, kinks, scarves
or Muslim garb. I'm not giving up sitting in Ma's kitchen eating peach
cobbler or sweet potato pie and hearing her ask me, "How you doing baby"?
I'm not giving up going to "You Buy, We Fry" on Fridays,
or bar-b-ques on Saturday playing Bid Whist and slammin' those dominoes.
I'm not giving back Harriet Tubman's train,
Soul Train, Coltrane or the Midnight train to Georgia.
Now, you can meet me at the function at the junction but I still won't give up B.B. King, the Whispers, Fancy Ms. Nancy, Lena Horne,
the Philadelphia Sound, Motown or the Temptations.
'Cause you see, it's the way we do the things we do, like building the
pyramids that still stand made by our forefathers' hands where the
diamonds, oil, silver and gold are buried in our rich dark land. I'm not
giving my black back! I'm happy being nappy with my wide
hips and my wide nose and the rich melanin in my skin.
I love putting lotion on my ashy legs.
Oh, I'm happy being nappy and being in the skin that I'm in. I won't deny
or forget my ancestors who lay in a wet grave at the bottom of the sea in
the middle passage from slave trade.
And I won't give up on our youth of today who still need a way made.
I won't give back Miles even though he didn't smile. I won't give back
Marvin Gaye, Richard Pryor, Phyllis Hyman, Billie Holiday or Billy
Eckstein, Jackie Robinson or Jackie Wilson.
I won't give back the electric slide, Alvin Ailey, Bojangles or Debbie
Allen. You think I'd give up reading my Jet, Ebony, Essence, Emerge,
Black Enterprise, Heart and Soul or Upscale magazines?
For we are a colorful people. Like Curtis Mayfield sang,
We are a people that are "darker than blue."
We are honey, cinnamon, mahogany and chocolate.
We are REDD Fox, James BROWN, Barry WHITE,
The Mothers of the church dressed in WHITE, The Color PURPLE,
the Lady Who Sings the BLUES and
We are Al GREEN with love and happiness.
Oh, NO... I'm not giving my black back!
I'm not giving back Maxine (Waters), Martin, Medgar, Malcolm, Mandela,
Marley, Marcus, Muhammad Ali, Michael (Jordan) or the Million Man March.
No, I'm not giving my Black Back!