In a few days African American History Month 2012 will begin. On February 24, 2012, the friends and family of Viola Gregg Liuzzo will celebrate the life of this great America with "The Marker," a play written in her honor. Please go to the web site for the details: http://www.extensionsofexcellence.org/current_season.html.
As I contemplate Black history month, I am reminded of an American who gave her life for the cause of African Americans-- Viola Gregg Liuzzo. Some years ago, I wrote a poem in honor of her, and it is that poem, that salute to this great American that I would like to share. I pray this poem, and, more importantly, Mrs. Liuzzo's story will find its way into the minds and hearts of every American searching for a reason to vote. Below is my tribute to Mrs. Liuzzo. And once again, I am thankful that she lived, yes I am!
A Beauty Shop Story: For Viola Gregg Liuzzo
It was a Thursday afternoon.
I was sitting in the blue chair at Aunt Dot's Hair Shop
Waiting for the girl to wash my hair
When that white woman rose up
in my eyes Rose up.
I could not get her pale face
out- of my brown eyes
Her face was huge
Starched in hair spray: Huge
I sunk down in that blue chair.
Who was this woman?
A blood relative
I never made acquaintance with-
(You know) the kind who show up
From a long way when a will
is being passed around the table
at the family reunion for the one family member
to do what the legacy commands
I'm sitting in that blue chair at Aunt Dot's Hair Shop
I witness heads being washed
I watch fake hair: snatched out
And all the while I see the white woman-pale
rising up in my brown eyes.
Who is she?
I see her
driving down highway 80. It's dark--night.
She's in a car with the boy.
Is that Leroy Moton in that car? He scared (they) scared
knowing freedom coming hearing hate
roaring up behind them that white woman
pushing down, down on the gas driving
seventy miles an hour eighty miles an hour
ninety miles an hour knowing freedom
hearing hate shooting into her car.
(who done it)
I rise up from the blue chair.
I tell the girl I'll be back for her to wash my hair.
I'm breathing freedom
Cause of the pale woman hanging in my brown eyes
A blood relative. An American.
Her name's Viola Liuzzo
And she died for my right to vote