Download high-resolution image
Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00

And We Rise

The Civil Rights Movement in Poems

Read by Erica Martin
Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00
A powerful, impactful, eye-opening journey that explores through the Civil Rights Movement in 1950s-1960s America in spare and evocative verse.

In stunning verse, Erica Martin's debut poetry collection walks readers through the Civil Rights Movement—from the well-documented events that shaped the nation’s treatment of Black people, beginning with the "Separate but Equal" ruling—and introduces lesser-known figures and moments that were just as crucial to the Movement and our nation's centuries-long fight for justice and equality.

A poignant, powerful, all-too-timely collection that is both a vital history lesson and much-needed conversation starter in our modern world.
© Brandon New
Erica Martin (ericamartinthewriterdotcom.wordpress.com) is a freelance editor, specializing in copyediting and developmental editing, and a poet. She has always been fascinated by English, writing, and US History. And We Rise is her first book. She lives with her family in Tennessee. Follow Erica on Twitter @ericaeditor or on Instagram @erica.martin.writes. View titles by Erica Martin

It’s 1877 when

Jim Crow laws say it’s

                        acceptable

                        legal

                        lawful

to segregate Blacks

&

                        whites

based on the color of

their skin.

In

                        schools

                        hospitals

                        churches

                        cemeteries

                        prisons

                        public transit

                        restaurants—-

if you were not

                        white

you were lesser

                        less than

human.

For years

&

years

&

years

&

years

 

nothing changed,

 

until 1954

when the Supreme Court reversed its decision

& ruled segregation unconstitutional.

 

Yet still,

nothing changed.

Because a ruling is only as effective

as its real--world execution.

 

 

 

the Supreme Court rules

 

in 1896

Blacks are

“Separate but Equal”

yet

outside

in the middle of July

in Birmingham, Alabama,

sweat drips

 

d

o

w

n

your forehead

your neck

your back

 

drenching

 

your shirt

your shorts

your socks

                                                                                                s e p a r a t e

                                                                                                but equal

 

you find a water fountain

your water fountain

and press the small rusty button

 

water arches

                                                up

                                                                        and out

waiting

                        for your

puck ered

                        lips

                                                                                                s e p a r a t e

                                                                                                but equal

 

only

it’s hot

brown

tastes like dirt

 

you glance around

checking for them

then

 

sneak a sip

from their fountain

 

                                                                                                                        s e p a r a t e

                                                                                                                        but equal

it’s cold

ice--cold

and refreshing

you sigh

s e p a r a t e

but equal

you are

not.

 

 

 

 

the Civil Rights Movement

 

was more than just

Dr. King

                        marching,

Rosa Parks

                        sitting,

Malcolm X

                        fighting.

 

it was

 

your mom

your grandma

your best friend’s great--aunt.

 

it was

everyday people

like you                              and me.

 

 

 

 

1954

May 17

Brown v. Board of Education

+

inherently unequal, an unconstitutional violation of the fourteenth amendment

=

white schools 

+

Black  schools

=

a great day for America and its court.

= segregation in public schools                          now illegal

 

in theory.

 

 

 

SIGNS, EVERYWHERE YOU GO . . . whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only WHITES ONLY

for colored

                        their (other) signs read

 

 

funny thing is

 

white is still a color

Praise for And We Rise:

*"This powerful collection of poems serves not only as a history lesson but also a conversation starter about the civil rights movement and other events that have impacted the treatment of Black Americans throughout history." -- SLC (starred review)

*"The impact of the poems in this powerful, necessary book is strengthened by the ­layout of the text and drives home the struggle for civil rights. A strong first purchase." --SLJ (starred review)

"A strong, historically accurate collection that can enhance any social studies or language arts unit. More important, audiences will appreciate these poems that leap off the pages, bringing history, pain, dignity, and fierce determination to life." --Booklist

About

A powerful, impactful, eye-opening journey that explores through the Civil Rights Movement in 1950s-1960s America in spare and evocative verse.

In stunning verse, Erica Martin's debut poetry collection walks readers through the Civil Rights Movement—from the well-documented events that shaped the nation’s treatment of Black people, beginning with the "Separate but Equal" ruling—and introduces lesser-known figures and moments that were just as crucial to the Movement and our nation's centuries-long fight for justice and equality.

A poignant, powerful, all-too-timely collection that is both a vital history lesson and much-needed conversation starter in our modern world.

Author

© Brandon New
Erica Martin (ericamartinthewriterdotcom.wordpress.com) is a freelance editor, specializing in copyediting and developmental editing, and a poet. She has always been fascinated by English, writing, and US History. And We Rise is her first book. She lives with her family in Tennessee. Follow Erica on Twitter @ericaeditor or on Instagram @erica.martin.writes. View titles by Erica Martin

Excerpt

It’s 1877 when

Jim Crow laws say it’s

                        acceptable

                        legal

                        lawful

to segregate Blacks

&

                        whites

based on the color of

their skin.

In

                        schools

                        hospitals

                        churches

                        cemeteries

                        prisons

                        public transit

                        restaurants—-

if you were not

                        white

you were lesser

                        less than

human.

For years

&

years

&

years

&

years

 

nothing changed,

 

until 1954

when the Supreme Court reversed its decision

& ruled segregation unconstitutional.

 

Yet still,

nothing changed.

Because a ruling is only as effective

as its real--world execution.

 

 

 

the Supreme Court rules

 

in 1896

Blacks are

“Separate but Equal”

yet

outside

in the middle of July

in Birmingham, Alabama,

sweat drips

 

d

o

w

n

your forehead

your neck

your back

 

drenching

 

your shirt

your shorts

your socks

                                                                                                s e p a r a t e

                                                                                                but equal

 

you find a water fountain

your water fountain

and press the small rusty button

 

water arches

                                                up

                                                                        and out

waiting

                        for your

puck ered

                        lips

                                                                                                s e p a r a t e

                                                                                                but equal

 

only

it’s hot

brown

tastes like dirt

 

you glance around

checking for them

then

 

sneak a sip

from their fountain

 

                                                                                                                        s e p a r a t e

                                                                                                                        but equal

it’s cold

ice--cold

and refreshing

you sigh

s e p a r a t e

but equal

you are

not.

 

 

 

 

the Civil Rights Movement

 

was more than just

Dr. King

                        marching,

Rosa Parks

                        sitting,

Malcolm X

                        fighting.

 

it was

 

your mom

your grandma

your best friend’s great--aunt.

 

it was

everyday people

like you                              and me.

 

 

 

 

1954

May 17

Brown v. Board of Education

+

inherently unequal, an unconstitutional violation of the fourteenth amendment

=

white schools 

+

Black  schools

=

a great day for America and its court.

= segregation in public schools                          now illegal

 

in theory.

 

 

 

SIGNS, EVERYWHERE YOU GO . . . whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only whites only WHITES ONLY

for colored

                        their (other) signs read

 

 

funny thing is

 

white is still a color

Praise

Praise for And We Rise:

*"This powerful collection of poems serves not only as a history lesson but also a conversation starter about the civil rights movement and other events that have impacted the treatment of Black Americans throughout history." -- SLC (starred review)

*"The impact of the poems in this powerful, necessary book is strengthened by the ­layout of the text and drives home the struggle for civil rights. A strong first purchase." --SLJ (starred review)

"A strong, historically accurate collection that can enhance any social studies or language arts unit. More important, audiences will appreciate these poems that leap off the pages, bringing history, pain, dignity, and fierce determination to life." --Booklist

Books for LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

In June we celebrate Pride Month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan and highlights the accomplishments of those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) community, while recognizing the ongoing struggles faced by many across the world who wish to live as their most authentic selves. Here is

Read more

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more