Children

by Mark Chmiel

Children
in Albany, Georgia
A small Deep South town
Where the atmosphere of slavery still lingered
Mass demonstrations took place
In the winter of 1961
And again in 1962
Of twenty-two thousand black people in Albany
Over a thousand went to jail
For marching and assembling
To protest segregation and discrimination

Here, as in all the demonstrations
That would sweep over the South
Little black children participated—
A new generation was learning to act

The Albany police chief
After one of the mass arrests
Was taking the names of the prisoners
Lined up before his desk
He looked up and saw a Negro boy about nine years old
“What’s your name?”
The boy looked straight at him
And said, “Freedom, Freedom”

–adapted from Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States

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