The Migrant Mothers Song

It was 1946—
America the Great.
900 miles to pick cotton in Arkansas

An inhospitable welcome from the farmer,
and a rundown chicken-coup for accommodations

Sisters, Hermanas,
young brown girls.
Niñas color bronce como sus abuelas,
raza noble.

Happiness glitters in brown eyes.
They laugh as young girls do.

Hot from the field,
a quaint country market,
they’re thirsty.
Una soda para refrescar.

“We don’t serve your kind”
sounds the voice of white supremacy,
the lash
of Bible Belt Christianity.
A cruel reminder of when they are

In the words of Langston Hughes,
“The Dream Deferred”

The moment
imprinted on their innocence
like boot prints in deep snow,
a cold wound—that would never heal.

A migrant child’s
on-again, off-again education,
children plagued by segregation,
whose singular purpose—
prepare them
for farm work
and hotel housekeepers
“The Dream Deferred”.

America the Great,
land of opportunity,
but not for them,
“The Dream Deferred”

In 1953—
In a Great America,
Brothers home from the war,
Korea
was their patriotic duty.
Proud men,
Americanos born of Mexicanos
proud to serve—
yet signs display:
“No Mexicans or Dogs Allowed”
“The Dream Differed”

Shed blood!
Pick crops
but stay in your own Brown Lane—
was the prevailing wind
of that Great America.
The land of the free and home of the brave.
Free to labor in her fields,
brave enough to die in her wars,
but to the Gringo,
they were disposable, invisible people.
“The Dream Differed”

America the Great,
unless your skin was brown,
and you spoke the language of your abuelos.

For the sake of her children and grandchildren,
she would fear to have
America, made Great
again.

One thought on “The Migrant Mothers Song

  1. AMAZING! Perfect representation of how many people of color feel about “the land of the free and home of the brave.”

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