File:Amir Locke protests (51866148217).jpg
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Photo courtesy of Chad Davis from Minneapolis, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0via Wikimedia Commons

Speaker Series 2022b (3) (1)

The Harriet Tubman Center for Freedom and Equity at Binghamton University warmly invites you to our upcoming 2nd annual Speaker series.  We are very much looking forward to hosting on March 31, Distinguished Professor, Omowunmi Sadik, who will speak on the topic of developing STEM leaders of the 21st century.  Eminent historian, Dr. Leslie Alexander, will join us the following week on April 6 to discuss policing in the age of Covid.

RECENT POEMS by the brilliant Brenda Cave-James

Otherwise, these challenging times call for not only new pioneering scholarship but art and artistry.  This we have in the person and work of Brenda Cave James whose poems so poignantly give a window into our troubled times.

By way of introduction, she says of the first poem: “Here is a poem to honor the young Amir Locke- I was moved to write it after the (yet another) recent shooting. Thank you.”



Farewell, dear fathers

sons and brothers

my cousins, uncles.

fine friends, others.

Farewell in advance

my sweet loverman!

Kiss me once more-

hold me twice long

when you leave my door.


When sun goes down

when day is through-

If I may change the poet’s words-

When night comes tenderly

dark, like you…

by morning you could be far gone

somehow, struck by thunderbolts-

or fall and roll down

yonder hill.

Let me say how I love you all.

I love you so, it worries me.

Keeps me awake.

It shakes my faith.


I pray for you

my handsome, strong

devilish, Godly

brilliant, witty

Black boys and men.

My nephews, grandsons, precious ones.

I’d weep and thrash

tear my clothes

if somehow before early dawn

(or light of day)

you met your death.


Goodbye now – just in case.

Inside your car

upon your porch with key in hand

you suffer a most dreadful fate.

Be vigilant! Keenly aware

of simmering volcanic holes.

Of dinosaurs.

A train might jump the overpass!


Don’t reach to help a soul in need.-

You mustn’t walk or ride your bike.

Don’t ever drive.

Please, do not jog!

No ice cream in your easy chair.

It’s dangerous.

While you should not sleep in your bed-

Never, I implore you, dears-

Never doze off on your couch!

A firing squad could get a key

burst inside

shout and scream-

all that in nine seconds, flat-

and take you out…


Silly me.

…what chance

of that….



copyright: Brenda Cave-James   c2/2022



(For Nikole Hannah -Jones and the late Toni Morrison)


Before coffee or comb

this morning it came.

From tellers and sayers

from since

time began.

Something from

my great grandmothers came.

Black. White. High Yellow. Tan.

Skin beaten purple.

Barefoot. Pregnant in high heels.

However confined

they fantasized-

practiced sass.

How is it they know



sing-song strains?

Fire cannot be burned.


Fear not, friends-

Sisters, brethren of the pen!

With scribbled unkempt pages

of knowledge and necessary.

We’ll serve up your forbidden fruits

from baskets weighing on our heads.

They cannot ban nor arrest our souls-

collect chewed pencils

toss our tongues

in bloody piles.

They cannot burn fire.


It came to me this morning

before the rush and grind of day.

Poets are created

by and for the Creator.

Appointed, empowered.

Anointed, endowed.


Truthers of light and dark.

Knighted with a two-edged blade

for truth in mystery,

truth in beauty,

truth in foul, odious things-

’tis planted in a poetess

like seed in womb.

Slayers, we are

of liars and demagoguery.


At first light before coffee

it came-

after sirens wailed warnings.

They’re disappearing books with words.

Hiding milk and honey.

Water. Meat. Oxygen.


Powers in print

to undress Miss Ann-

peep Ofay’s hold card.

Deflate lionized rapers

of flesh and mind

and spirit

and land.


Poets know instinctively


with beckoning blank paper-

to write,

then sing

or bellow

in righteous indignation.

They can bury books.

They cannot burn fire.


copyright: Brenda Cave-James   c2/4/22


PRESS IN NY TIMES, March 26, 2022

“Descendants Trace Histories Linked by Slavery.” by Amanda Holpuch




Find Anne C. Bailey's non-fiction book : The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History on Amazon.

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