Preface to my book, “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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