From Boys to Men: A Black History Poem

Johnson boys
Photo credit: Brian Pearse

See, we’re on the path to raising boys into men 

His father and I that is 

We parent after those who fought before us 

We all know of MLK, that brother who could speak mighty fine 

Yet, we’ve included some others to give us foundation 

Like Marcus Garvey who impacted both this country and a tiny island 

Let’s not forget about Frederick Douglass who was born as a slave but died as an author

See, as a mother, I want to see my sons protected 

Yet, as a father, he wants to create two undefeated black men 

I guess we need to add the battles of Muhammad Ali to their paths

His father has to remind me – we’re raising boys into men

We have to include the modern heroes 

I will say the name of Trayvon Martin as I fix their hoods in the morning 

I will say the name of Atatiana Jefferson as we play games at night 

I will preserve the legacy of those who fought willingly or unwillingly 

As we navigate this path of making boys into men 

We can’t forget about shaping their souls 

The youngest one can rock to the rhythms of Bob Marley and sway to the voices of The Temptations

The oldest is my Malcom X in the making 

My fear for him is the highest  

Such a powerful speaker, such an opinionated mind, and he doesn’t even know it

I internally try to sabotage his voice 

Johnson boy

Yet, his father has to remind me – we’re raising boys into men 

The times are different from the previous generation 

History books will be filled with Barack and the chants of “yes we can” 

Usain Bolt has made history as the fastest man alive 

Yet, they won’t forget the lesson that black girls rock

Just ask Serena Williams 

Our history cannot fill a textbook nor start with slavery 

Our history is the foundation we need to raise boys into men 


Previous articleToddler Travels: My First Solo Plane Ride With My Daughter
Next article5 Spring Cleaning Tips
¡Hola! Konnichiwa! Bonjour! Greetings! A lover of languages and world cultures, Mariah enjoys traveling the world joined by her two rambunctious sons and high school sweetheart of more than ten years. Her love for traveling has been inspired by her time growing up in Jamaica, where an exposure to different cultures led to her having a unique childhood. As a first generation American, she is constantly learning to juggle her Caribbean background with “all things Southern” when it comes to parenting her two sons. In addition to her love for cultures, Mariah has a passion for learning, which has led to her to enter the teaching world to share her energy for learning with her students. As the only queen in a house full of kings, she finds time to steal away to watch natural hair videos or cruise around the Gulf Coast looking for the best local restaurants to sample.