#unsung: Ruby McCollum




(This is one of the #unsung (heroes) poems in the ongoing #unsung series)

I didn’t know you

we didn’t wear the same time

when I was born your star had already

begun its fade

now I learn

you were a woman of many secrets

born of hours when black skin was

hung from trees by tinder stick men in white hats

thinking this justice, thinking themselves

close to God

it builds a pyre of rage in my heart to

see the photos of your people left to die

in hot sun with a rope around their work worn necks

because one group thought themselves lord of all the land

I want to go back in time and correct

all the mistakes made in hate, in the name of faith

I want to go back in time and save

you from the certainty of condemnation

you stood, your skin warm to…

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  1. My friend. I watched a documentary on Netflix on this last night and am now reading the book about Ruby’s life. It is not just a simple story of racism, it is not a simple story of sexism, or a story of a near lynching in the South in the fifties, it’s a story that has every element of racism and racial tension from that time, not so very different from this time and as such it moved me to write a poem about her, because although many know her story, many do not, and heroes like her, who stand up against oppression must always be honored. Thank you for re-blogging this I hope her message is not forgotten. A person is not by virtue of their skin color, ever the possession of another.


    • Thats why I admire you, you get what others choose to ignore. Racism is a taught disease. Infants are not born from their mothers womb being racists. It’s a taught condition that effects/affects the entire planet. We talk of saving our planet from climate change of ozone poisoning or other calamities but overlook the major reason why our globe is doomed. Racism.

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      • You’re right, racism is a taught disease, and that is really evident in this documentary. I want to help those of color who are incarcerated (especially women) because in the case of women, they are disproportionately represented compared to white women who usually have better legal representation (also true for black men compared to white men of course) and being female they are often victims of abuse, often have health issues and are often given longer sentences than men for the same crime and longer sentences than white women for the same crime. This example is one I admire because whilst I don’t condone murder I think Ruby had little choice and doing what she did took a lot of courage because she was one step from being lynched and people need to remember their history and not brush it under the carpet. I agree that one reason humanity is doomed and has been so awful is racism it’s probably one of the main reasons (aside sexism and other types of oppression) it stems from a need for power and a hate for others. If people tell me they think everyone is intrinsically good I point to how many people hate others for NO REASON how can that mean we are intrinsically good? Maybe we are born good but we soon lose that and many of us are guilty of terrible things – the greatest crime being doing NOTHING


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