The Bridge to Freedom

Grand-daddy always told us stories
Of his days as a slave and a share cropper.
To look at him,
You would never know
That he could be forced to submit
to someone who claimed ownership over him.
He was a tall, muscular man
Who walked with his shoulders back
And his head held high.
Proud.
Who could rule over him?
But it happened.
He was pulled away from his wife
And children,
Sold to another home,
Miles away from the ones his loved.
He was made to work in the fields,
In the heat,
With a sack to collect the harvest
Over his shoulder and his back bent.
He told us that the work was hard.
The overseers were harder
And would walk the lash across his back
Until his shirt was tattered,
And the flesh on his back opened up,
Leaving crimson stains
On the fabric.
He said,
“You are free-born,
Don’t nobody own you,
Don’t nobody control you,
But you.
I bent my back
All those days
In the sun,
So my back could be a bridge
For you to walk across
And find freedom.
I thank God,
How I thank God,
That you are free!
But don’t you go on believing
That freedom stands still.
No, no,
You have to keep walking towards it.
You keep walking.
And make sure you bend your back,
Make your back a bridge
So your children
can cross over
To the new freedoms
They will one day see.”

About these ads

9 thoughts on “The Bridge to Freedom

  1. thank you Nike for inviting us (me) in to this visit with your grandfather.
    it’s those special people in our lives that we’ll carry with us always.

    • nikewrites says:

      Hi Mutuo! This isn’t a biographical piece…100% fiction. It really speaks to the previous generation making a way for us. Thank God, we don’t have to endure the things they suffered! Thanks for your comment!

  2. “And make sure you bend your back,
    Make your back a bridge
    So your children
    can cross over
    To the new freedoms
    They will one day see.”

    Yeah. Just like that.

  3. nikewrites says:

    Reblogged this on Nikewrites Blog and commented:

    Happy Thursday! Today’s #TBT piece is about the past. There are many who say we should forget this period of history because it was ugly and is painful. It’s important to continue to tradition of passing the stories from one generation to the next.

  4. elainecanham says:

    That was beautiful, thank you. Especially when freedom, for so many people, seems to be getting further away.

  5. This is excellent. The back as-a-bridge metaphor is very powerful.

  6. bushv1970 says:

    Thank you for sharing a piece of your life. You had a strong grandfather and he endured so you could be free. My husband and I often talk about how our grandmother’s and grandfather’s endured the harsh treatment from those who oppressed them. Some in the black community fail to see the freedom that they have and the freedom to be whoever they want to be or whatever they want to do. The world is filled with so many possibilities yet their squandered away when our children refuse to rise above their circumstances. It breaks my heart to see our young boys and men standing out on the corner selling drugs that are killing our people for a quick buck. They refuse to open their minds and step out of their comfort zone to see how other’s live and how different things are in other places. Our forefather’s worked their fingers to the bone and endured sleeping on a floor of a bunch of wood put together and they call it a home. Let’s not forget our young girls and women they too refuse to leave their environment to see what’s outside of their part of the city even the outside of their state. Young girls hanging out on the street late at night hanging out. Mother’s don’t spend time anymore teaching their daughters how to be a lady because they are too busy chasing a man or going to “the club.” What a sad scene. I have seen young girls 14 and 15 years old pregnant having children and they are a child themselves so instead of being able to hang out with your friends, go to the school dances, to the movies, or any other activity that young people do. It’s becoming an epidemic and parents need to step up and go back to the time that parents didn’t allow you to be outside when the street lamp came on. I don’t want to stray from speaking on slavery which sometimes enrages me, not because our people were slaves per say, but because those that owned slaves confessed to be God fearing Christians yet you treat a living, breathing human being like the dirt you walk on. I have taken a new approach to my thought process and here’s what I think when I hear any conversation or see a tv documentary about slavery. I think to myself Jesus was persecuted, spit on and tied to a cross. He died for us and he decided he would carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, and that’s what our forefather’s did for us, but we still have black on black crime and we are losing our young men and boys at an atronomical rate. Your grandfather was a wise man, he endured to the end and we should always think about all our ancestors have done to keep us free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s