We had fun playing hide and seek in barns stacked high with bales of hay
In the heat of a hot summer’s day, we couldn’t swim, but jumped in anyway.
We would play in forbidden areas, even though we knew that it wasn’t okay
On most days, our summers were spent chopping cotton in fields filled with tall weeds and tough grasses
In the fall we picked cotton after school, and studied into the night for the morning classes
We had clothes and shelter, never went hungry, and always enjoyed mama’s hot biscuits with fresh buttered milk and molasses
Yes, in the land of plenty, we had no equity, and were certainly poverty stricken
But we had a cow, in the pen we had pigs, and in our yard we had lots of chickens
We had out houses, and no air conditioning; electric lights, but no telephones
We lived day by day, one day at a time, with an even greater view of tomorrow
Somehow the past had become embedded with nightmares and too much sorrow
We had visions of a bright future, in spite of all the stories of horror
We focused on upward mobility; we knew that we had to rise above and beyond; we picked our peak and began to climb. We had no need to beg, and very little need to borrow
Our past was no mystery, our present status was manageable, and we looked ahead,far beyond the misery
There was something about our unstable footings, our unsettled, unsure foundations
But deep within our hearts, we sensed that every step we made was looking outward, onward, and forward.
I tell you, we looked up; we could not afford to look down, and there was little time to look back;
Sometimes we looked within; but we always looked up and straight ahead.