our fight for our legacy the courage of creativity | mlk 50
Fighting is in our DNA. We approach the world with our fists clenched, heads high, body in a stance that we have perfected over the years to show no weakness. WHY? As the headliner for the fight against the world, any ounce of weakness will result in a loss, and we have lost the fight. The gloves are loosened and slowly slide off of our swollen hands; the chewed up mouthpiece is thrown to the floor in disgust; we turn and look at the crowd with a beaten face in defeat. But, that doesn’t stop me, you, and us. One loss, and we pick ourselves up, go back, and fight again. Perfecting the Stance. Tightening the Gloves. Showing No Weakness. WHY? Because this is the FIGHT for Our Legacy as a people of color. Any professional fighter knows that, in the process of getting better, they have to go back and review old footage from previous fights. In a way, that's what we have produced here: a commentary on the reflections of today’s racial climate with comparisons and acknowledgments to past social activist groups and movements (i.e. the Civil Rights Movement Era). Please note, everything that we have cultivated throughout this zine - poems, expository, pictures was with a strict purpose; nothing was done by accident! Let's Get Ready to Rumble, Antonio Sims II, Editor in Chief Senior, Collierville
the courage of creativity | mlk 50
editor in chief: tony sims ii writers: amiah williams | raven richmond marcus massey | sidney martin
D N E Y M A R TMUSIC IN “WHEN WORDSS IFAIL, SPEAKS.” by Sidney Martin – Senior, St. George's Independent School “Its been a long time, a long time coming. But I
"My b***h is bad and boujee, Cookin' up dope
know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.”
with a Uzi. My n****s is savage, ruthless, We
got 30 and 100 rounds too" (Migos feat. Lil Uzi Vert)
Dear Dr. King,
Dear Dr. King,
It's 1964, during the Civil Rights Movement.
If you had to see this generation, you’d be
Though America was divided,
African-Americans were united
Instead of music that unites people, artists
Under one cause: equality for all.
create music that reinforce racial stereotypes
Artists like James Brown,
and dehumanize women,
something that you did not fight for.
and Aretha Franklin
You fought so people would be judged by
helped fuel the fire with songs like
their character, instead of racial profiling.
“Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud”,
the part does not represent the whole.
and “A Change is Gonna Come.”
There are other influential artists like
These songs helped influence the African-
Chance the Rapper,
American community in a
Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole
that speak openly about these issues.
by portraying messages of hope under the
Like the African-American artists of the past,
oppression of racism.
these artists bring hope to the future.
"What's the price for a black man's life? I check the toe tag, not one zero in sight. I turn on the T.V., not one hero in sight unless he dribble or fiddle with mics." - J.Cole, "January 28th"
I AM A MAN a reflective piece by Marcus Massey Senior,Â Christian Brothers High School
[Reminisce of the Suffering of Slavery] Do you remember How for centuries long, Our ancestors paid the price Because supposedly they looked wrong? Or how about the marks of the chains Bound to their arms and legs? Treated as if they were property, Kept as if they were already dead. But most important, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget How we stayed true to ourselves. How they managed to survive, Or how we never fell, And so that legacy is passed on. When every day was a fight They made it through that suffering, Hoping to see the light. I am a Human Why yes I am I am a Human I am a Man
[Reminisce of the Civil Rights Movement] Can you recall When our brothers and sisters rose To fight against the Man, Against the future he chose? How hard must it have been, To stand and fight. In the midst of that chaos, A chance to show their might. How brave were they, Frightened by those threats, Yet still strong enough To make that risky bet. It must have been a challenge To be in their place, Preparing a future For our entire race. I am a Human Why yes I am I am a Human I am a Man
[Reminisce of Black Lives Matter Movement] The memory is still fresh Of the fate of those teens. Innocent lives lost, But the killers got away clean. Do you really know why we rioted? Why we raised up our voice? We could no longer take the unfairness; We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have much of a choice! No more of this brutality Caused by the police. No man should be forced To die in front of his niece. Frankly said, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d had enough. We could no longer stand idly by. If there was at least one thing we could do, We had to try. I am a Human Why yes I am I am a Human I am a Man
Was it not we who suffered the bonds of Slavery? Was it not we who challenged the societal norms? Was it not we who fought for each other? Will it not be us that change the course? To my brothers, I say take up your arms. With them, we will prove the world wrong. To my sisters, I say hike up your dress, For I know the walk to freedom will last long. Today is the beginning of our legacy, Carved and forged by those before us. Today is the beginning of my legacy, Where I seek out true Justice. I am a Human Why yes I am Because We are Humans We are African-American
Black lives are trying. Black lives are fighting. Just like everyone else. Just like everyone else, We are going through the motions of everyday life, trying to defend ourselves from the judgement that hold us back. The judgement that takes a group of people and places them in a category of “lesser than.” The judgement that makes you look at me and assume I’m a threat. They say “All Lives Matter.” but “all lives” aren’t the ones I see on my TV being taken everyday. I see black lives. I see black lives being disregarded like they don’t matter. I see black lives being challenged by systemic racism. I see black lives going through the motions everyday. Just like everyone else. - Amiah Williams Sophomore, St. Mary's Episcopal School
Dear White People, Dear white people: when you look at me, what do you see? Now, be honest. Do you see someone who’s dirty and grimy? Or someone who is about to mug you? Oh! Better yet, do you see someone who is uneducated and unworthy of your respect because I am viewed as the lesser people? If I told you that I wrote a book or wanted to become a lawyer, you would look at me in shock and disbelief. You would think, “No, you can’t do that because you’re not me.” But, why can’t that be me, too? Is it because I have beautiful locks that come past my shoulders, or because I am not afraid to speak my mind and my truth. You think this way because you have fallen victim to the single story. No disrespect to white people, but the problem starts with you. When I am around white people, the comment that never fails to come out is, “You speak very well for a black person” or “You sound white.” I never knew speaking properly was a privilege given to one race. White people, especially in Memphis and Holly Springs, think that black people are the lesser race, and it upsets me when that is the very first thing that comes out of their mouths. I even get the same reactions from black people. Because I have curly hair and a tan complexion, whites always think or ask, “What are you?” This is confusing, and somewhat irritating, because it always feels like they view me as an object. I always wonder, “Why I can’t just be an African American?” Yes, I may be other things, but when you look at me, you do see an African American young woman. Even the young black men of my race will look at me and even add, “You’re really pretty to be a black girl.” That is really troubling to hear: when the men of your own race do not view their own women as beautiful. People, regardless of race, can’t just see people as people. Someone always has to imprint the image or idea already in their head on others. People trying to copy others, or confining themselves and others to society’s image, is the main reason people fall victim to the single story. No one person is the same. Now, when you look at me do you still see me as uneducated or dirty? Well, if you do, joke’s on you because at the end of the day, I look just like you just with a melanin-rich skin. - Raven Richmond Senior, Immaculate Conception
© 2018 | MEMPHIS CHALLENGE PUBLICATIONS All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information, address The Memphis Challenge, 516 Tennessee St., Suite 422, Memphis, Tennessee 38103. Memphis Challenge unveils the third installment of the “Tell Me A Story” service project series. Aligned with the MLK50 commemoration, Memphis Challenge students created four electronic magazines (Zines), featuring prose and art relating to social justice. A portion of the project is funded by a generous grant from the Hyde Family Foundation, FedEx, and Pyramid Peak Foundation. Special thanks to the production team – Heather Bruce, Avery Cunningham, Eleazar Rendon, Caroline Warren, McKenzii Webster and Executive Director, Cassandra Webster – for your expertise, commitment, vision, and leadership. Parents, guardians and MC board of directors thank you for your trust and support.