"For My People" by Margaret Walker

For My People Margaret Walker, Stephen Vincent Benét

Series:
Yale Series of Younger Poets
Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
26 Nov 2019
ISBN:
9780300246407
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
64 pages: 210 x 140mm

Considered among the most important collection of poetry written by a participant in the Black Chicago Renaissance, For My People is a series of ballad poems with memorable characters, including the New Orleans sorceress Molly Means; Kissie Lee, a tough young woman who dies “with her boots on switching blades”; Poppa Chicken, an urban drug dealer and pimp; John Henry, killed by a ten-pound hammer; and Stagolee, who kills a white officer but eludes a lynch mob. The memorable title poem evokes the power of resilience not only for black people, but for all people.

Margaret Walker (later Mrs. F. J. Alexander) was director of the Institute for the Study of History, Life, and Culture of Black People at Jackson State College. Her novel, Jubilee, published in 1966, has been translated into a number of European languages.