A Letter to Joseph Payawesea

A mere half hour away from Mechanicsburg, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the first federally-funded off-Reservation boarding school for Amerindian children. The boarding school was founded in 1879 in Carlisle, PA by General Richard Henry Pratt, who publicly held the motto, “kill the Indian, save the man.” Thus, the boarding school system sought to “modernize” and assimilate Indian…

I Am From

The theme for this year’s Humanities Symposium is “Home,” and here at the Center for Public Humanities, we have been critically thinking about what home means, both for communities and individuals. Throughout that week (February 19-26), numerous people shared about this topic from many perspectives, and now Messiah College student Marina Moreira tells her story of…

Spelling Home

Many of the Fellows get to participate in the Poetry in Place workshop, where young students interact with different subjects in history and in their personal lives and produce poetry that interprets those experiences. Continue reading as Fellow Olivia McCullum reflects on this time through her own poem.    Spelling Home We sit at high, round…

Ghosts

I see ghosts all around me. In the shadows of a city once bustling with culture, In the absence of brown faces, In the presence of white.   I see ghosts all around me. In cracked cement that will never be filled, In crumbling brick and stone, In “No Trespassing” signs where no one would…

The Lord’s Back Was Black

The poem is Jesus speaking to a slave master while he beats his slave. It explores the paradoxical reality of Christian slave owners in the 19th century. It speaks from the perspective of Jesus who identifies with the oppressed, persecuted, and marginalized. This assumption is drawn from the passage when Jesus spoke to Paul saying…

Resistance

Yearning, dissenting, striving A freedom song among the cotton stocks A harbor steeped in revolution Patchwork hope along the tracks of a perilous ride Remembering, lamenting, achieving From Yorktown’s final drumbeats To barefoot children’s first steps Arms of freedom reaching out and drying paint on picket signs Endurance, resilience, memory Flowing verse from the lips…

Solidarity Is(n’t) Dead

Solidarity Is(n’t) Dead They Say that Solidarity is Dead And I wouldn’t disagree It’s always been “us against them” That’s blatantly clear to see – “What about us” we chorus “Stop killing us” we cry “Black Lives Matter” we scream “All Lives Matter” they reply We exalt our concerns, but they’re met with denial Watching…

This Body

I have been taught that as a woman in this world my body is not my own- It’s for the critics politicians and grabby hands, for the stranger who whistled at me on the street to dream of at night when he’s alone for religion to lock up and blame. What if they’re right?- My…