Poems Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance

“Who Am I” by Kailyn Beckham, ’23

You see my father the pastor and make assumptions

You assume i’m really sweet holier than thou

You assume i’m going to do everything by the rules

The questions that remains is who am I

I am the girl who acts just like her dad 

we act so much alike it’s scary 

like we’re the same person

I am stubborn and headstrong 

When my mind is made up there’s no changing that 

kind of like a tattoo once its there you gotta live with it

I am very direct communicator 

Beating around the bush not for me 

Yes I can be the nicest person but not the person to cross

I can talk to you and laugh with you but when you make me mad that’s it 

like a bull once they see red they go crazy

I stand up for myself

Like pandas are sweet but if you attack they attack worse

By now you know who I am


“Little Dark-Haired Girl,” by Ciara Gerring, ’23

Little dark haired girl sweet and heavenly like a jasmine flower,

Her hope is as strong as a well built tower. 

Little dark haired girl ready to take on the world,

Despite its hiss and dizzying swirl

Little dark haired girl skin that gleams golden in the sun,

Stemming from oppression but her hope remains a ton

Little dark haired girl inspired by the Lady Day

Her solitude too haunted by the words she pray

Little dark haired girl in love with the color green

Good thing she was never one to take a dip in non sober seen 

If you were curious to see

That little dark haired girl is me 



“Oh, Lady,” by Israel Scott, ‘23

Oh Lady Day, oh Lady Day,

Your voice so sweet, your soul on display.

With every note, you sang so true,

You captured hearts and made them anew.


Your music spoke of love and pain,

Of joy and sorrow, sunshine and rain.

You poured your heart into every word,

And left a legacy that will forever be heard.


Your voice was a gift from above,

A beacon of light, a symbol of love.

You inspired generations with your art,

And left a lasting impression on every heart.


So here’s to you, Lady Day,

Your music will live on in a forever-changing way.

You will always be remembered, and always be loved,

For the beauty and grace, you brought to this world.

Back then from below, now from up above. 


“Change,” by Kalel Fargo, ’23

Something Found on the street

Or maybe it can be found in  beat

Bessie smith was change 


From The grove of the beat

That made you move your feet

The lyrics that had the critics

Smith was change


From breaking stereotypes

And records 

All in the same fight

Smith Was change


From Coming out 

On stage

To her fans 

In the stands

Smith was change