President Obama — SNCC’s Victory

Victory, after forty six years.
This happened last night. This is for the children.
It is for the grand children.  This is the victory
of the Movement. This is the victory of SNCC.
What were they fighting for? Not just integration.
Not even justice and the right to vote.
They did not use the word Hope. I never heard “hope”
spoken. I did hear the word “Dream”.
“It was like I died and went to Heaven and it was
integrated there.”
Heaven, that is a word I heard.
SNCC was fighting for heaven on earth here in America.
SNCC was fighting for equality in jobs, in income, not only for
Black folk, but for all folks.
Many are dead who  lead this fight. James Forman is  dead.
He led us all. Sam Shirah is dead. He was a white boy from
Alabama, who  they picked out and spit on, always,
He was a “nigger lover.” So was I for that matter.
Nigger lover and proud of it.
And now this, this victory.
It took forty-six years.
I was twenty. That’s how old I was.  Everyone was young.
June Johnson is dead. She was fifteen.
This is for everyone. This is for the children. This is forever.
This is amazing.

November 4, 2008

4 Responses to “President Obama — SNCC’s Victory”
  1. Lewis Koch says:

    yes, and yes again. a minimal and wonderful comment i heard reported on the night of the election, from an elder women, i think in Atlanta: she said, “I’ve only got four words for this: Glory Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah!” that about sums it up. now the hard work continues and begins anew. ¡si, se puede!

  2. John Shirah Grimmett says:

    Sam Shirah is my first cousin, the oldest son of my mother’s second brother, Samuel C. Shirah. I always talk about my cousin Sammy when I tell friends about my family. Thank you for honoring him so much in this poem.

  3. Bell says:

    What a lovely poem. Thank you from another nigger-lover who was there. I googled SNCC and Obama, and found only this. How do you feel about Obama’s never-mention of SNCC. And do yu think he’s abandoned community organizing ideals?

    Of course i agree, the fact of his election was a triumph for SNCC and the country, though history seems to be undoing it.

    Bell Chevigny

  4. Jordan Shorr says:

    Amazing is right. The confluence of subjects here make me feel like a “zelig”. For I worked with Forman’s CORE both in Brooklyn N Y and Oakland (alameda county) California. And was with Sam (sort of) in Suwanee, Georgia, where he was licking his wounds before going to New York. And in 2008, celebrating our victory at the Atlanta Hyatt with my coworkers from the Georgia Democratic Party, Reverend Joseph E.
    Llowery, and t.housands of folk

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