Social Justice Poetry

A Noose Left in the Museum | A Social Justice Poem by Marcelius Braxton

Do you know the story of Mary Turner?
8 months pregnant,
lynched for her protest of another lynching,
that of her husband’s–
whose accusers were willingly
judge, jury, and executioner.

Her voice, silenced by any means,
Means that entailed cutting her unborn child from her body,
watching it fall to the ground,
and crushing its head—after it released a small glimpse of life,
two innocent cries.
Do you hear the cries of the unborn child?

Shot after shot, in the hundreds,
penetrated her flesh into her already deceased body.
Do you smell the residue of gunfire?

Undeniable progress encountered your vestige of hate that day.
It reminds us of Mary Turner.
It reminds us of Jesse Washington, lynched over a bonfire,
castrated while 10,000 men, women, and even children, rejoiced.
It reminds us of black soldiers,
hanging from a tree in uniform
as a display that disdain for blackness trumps service to country.

We are reminded
not just that progress does not eradicate hate–
but that the lives lost through hate
must be remembered in order to progress.

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