Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” captures the essence of Black History

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As Black History Month 2017 comes to an end, let us be reminded that the rich history of Black resilience, achievements and courage through adversity is worthy of celebration not only in February, but every day from generation to generation.

Let us continue to strive for justice, equality and peace in a world riddled with racism, inequality and hatred. Emulate positive examples of role models past and present. Be united and celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes.

Most importantly, let us continue to honour those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of civil rights, human rights, equal rights and social justice. Let us work in collaboration with allies of different races and ethnicities to tackle racism, discrimination and inequality. Together we can achieve more and divided we all lose.

The late Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” captures the essence of Black people. We rise above ravaging tides, stormy weather, racism, discrimination, hate, brutality and the daily struggle for survival. Always remember that you are worthy, remarkable and deserving of the best that you desire for yourself. Believe in your capabilities, stand up for your rights, speak out against inequality and never let anyone make you feel less than worthy.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


May-Marie is driven by passion and purpose to tirelessly promote social change, diversity, equity and women's empowerment in both her personal and professional endeavours.

1 Comment


    Glynn Green

    March 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    A very timely reminder of our common humanity, May-Marie. Much has been achieved but there is so much more yet to be done. I have always admired Ms. Angelou’s ability to articulate with such evocative prose, the challenges of our black community. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the young black women in our Hamilton illuminating ladies. With kindest regards, Glynn.

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