History

Pages from (or about) the past, including:

Women in history

 

Triolet: Don't Mention the War

The form that notified my great-uncle's death in 1917

They never talked about the war,

the ones who fought and struggled through it

Why speak of memories so sore?

They never talked about the war

but football, politics and more

Unless the young asked them to do it,

they never talked about the war,

the ones who fought and struggled through it

Triolet: War Is Over

She didn’t say the war was won

Instead she said the war was ended

Fall silent now, the bomb and gun

She didn’t say the war was won

There’s future-building to be done

Place and people to be mended

She didn’t say the war was won

Instead she said the war was ended

Black culture and resistance: the Harlem Renaissance

Augusta Savage

One hundred years ago, an arts movement was forming in a mainly-black district of New York City. Later known as the Harlem Renaissance, it was primarily cultural but also inescapably political. Literature, poetry, jazz, theatre, sculpture and more articulated the lives and demands of African-Americans no longer willing to be grateful that they were no longer enslaved.

O black and unknown bards of long ago.
How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?

How, in your darkness, did you come to know
The power and beauty of the minstrel’s lyre?
Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes?
Who first from out the still watch, lone and long.
Feeling the ancient faith of prophets rise
Within his dark-kept soul, burst into song?

James Weldon Johnson

Bristol's Brilliant Bus Boycott (1963)

Bristol bus boycott

Back before barring blacks became banned
Bristol buses blocked brown-skinned blokes becoming buscrew

But better Bristolians batted back
bit the bullet and boycotted the buses

Bent-backed, booted bipeds bicycled,
as bitter brushes blazed between bile and benevolence

Bands of brave, belligerent banner-bearers
branded the ban biased, barbarous balderdash

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