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“Birth Mark” A Poem by Nancy Dillingham

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As you might know by now that our featured artist for the summer is Nancy Dillingham. Nancy is both a poet and writer and her work will be featured all summer as part of our Year 2020: A Public Art Project.

“Birth Mark” was part of her first set of 2020 poems and one that we wanted to share with you.

Birth Mark

“America was born with a birthmark.” Condoleezza Rice

Home of the Brave

give me a world where the birthmark
has been blurred, obliterated

where greedy landowners
didn’t crave slaves

where untold souls
didn’t have their lives taken

on occasions
for picnics and parades

ice cream and baseball
souvenirs and photo opts

I long for a land where the words
of our own lady of the harbor

Give us your tired, huddled masses
yearning to breathe free

no longer ring hollow

* Between 1882 and 1962, 4,000 blacks lost their lives in lynchings.

** Lynchings occurred about once a week for 80 years. In 2016, 266 blacks lost their lives to police shootings. This was an average of 5 people killed per week.

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