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Mrs. McKeown's Poetry
African American Poet

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Merry-Go-Round

Introduction:
Use this poem as a way to introduce the Jim Crow laws that kept black Americans as second class citizens in the United States.

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Colored child at carnival:

Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put in back-
But there ain't no back
To a merry-go-round!
Where's the horse
For a kid that's black?

-- Langston Hughes --

From The Dream Keeper and other poems by Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf,1994.

Extension:
Have the students write their own poems that deal with discrimination.