From “Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass”


From slavery to freedom.
From pre-colonialism to post-modernism.
From revolution to reactionism.
From the War for Independence
to the Civil War
From the slave enlistment bill
to Selective Service.
From Articles of Confederation
to the Confederacy.
From agrarianism to technocratism.
From pre-industrialization.
to post-industrialization

From George Washington
to George Bush.
From the birth of a nation
to a kinder, gentler nation.
From Thomas Jefferson
to William Jefferson Clinton.
From Democratic Republicanism
to the New Democrats.
From honest Abe
to tricky Dick
to Slick Willie.
From preserving the Union
to fighting a “lawless society”
to establishing a New Covenant.
From Radical Republicanism
to Roosevelt’s reign
to Reaganism.

From Reconstruction
to public works
to trickle-down economics.
From the Welfare State
to a Police State.

From the Do Nothing Party
to the Freedom Now Party.
From New Deal Democrats
to Dixiecrats.
From the Grand Old Party
to the Great Society
to this dialogue on race.
From the melting pot
to multiculturalism.
From Jim Crow
to the Rainbow Coalition.

From Griots to the Last Poets
From Phillis Wheatley
to Gwendolyn Brooks.
From highly imitative
to Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry.
From Various Subjects, Religious and Moral
to Annie Allen.
From Zora Neale Hurston
to Toni Morrison.
From Their Eyes Were Watching God
to Paradise.
From folklore
to Nobel Laureate fiction.
From Mules and Men
to Beloved.
From Richard Wright
to James Baldwin
to Walter Mosley.
From Native Son
to “Sonny’s Blues”
to A Devil in a Blue Dress.

From the Royal Family—
Count Basie, Duke Ellington
and Nat King Cole
to the King of Pop.
From a Lady singing the blues
to the Funky Divas.
From the Queen of Soul
to Queen Latifah.
From Bojangles
to M.C. Hammer
to the Tap Dance Kid.
From Porgy and Bess
to Jelly’s Last Jam.
From slave songs and spirituals
to soul.
From delta blues
to rhythm and blues.
From New Orleans jazz
to Brass Construction.
From ragtime
to rock ‘n’ roll
to rap.

The gift of story and song.

From slavery
to sharecropping.
From pickin’ cotton
to hoeing fields.
From the farm
to the factory.
From grapes of wrath
to industrial traps.
From the plantation
to the penitentiary.
From the old slavery
to the new slavery.
From chattel slavery
to the convict lease system
to the chain gang
to prisons for profit.

The gift of sweat and brawn.

From Africa to America.
From chains to the cross.
From a slave religion
to a religion of salvation.
From segregated balconies
to the front of the pews.
From hearing the Word
to proclaiming it.
From making a way out of no way
to leading the way.

The gift of the spirit.

The long shadows
of black history in America,
once hidden, often denied,
now revealed.


About William Eric Waters, aka Easy Waters

Award-winning poet, playwright and writer. Author of three books of poetry, "Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass: Remembrance of Things Past and Present"; "Sometimes Blue Knights Wear Black Hats"; "The Black Feminine Mystique," and a novel, "Streets of Rage." All four books are available on
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1 Response to From “Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass”

  1. Ravella, Dawn says:

    You’re amazing, brilliant, talented!!
    Dawn Ravella LMSW
    Director of Mission
    The Reformed Church of Bronxville


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