Second Daughter's Second Day on Earth
My birth certificate says: Female Negro Mother: Mary Anne Irby, 22, Negro Father: Jack Austin Woodson, 25, Negro
In Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther KIng Jr. is planning a march on Washington, where John F. Kennedy is president. In Harlem, Malcom X is standing on a soapbox talking about a revolution.
Outside the window of University Hospital, snow is slowly falling. So much already covers this vast Ohio ground.
In Montgomery, only seven years have passed since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus.
I am born brown-skinned, black-haired and wide-eyed. I am born Negro here and Colored there
and somewhere else, The Freedom Singers have linked arms, their protests rising into song; Deep in my heart, I do beleive that we shall overcome someday.
and somewhere else, James Baldwin Is writing about injustice, each novel, each essay changing the world.
I do not yet know who I'll be what I'll say how I'll say it...
Not even three years have passed since a brown girl named Ruby Bridges walked into a all-white school. Armed guards surrounded her while hundreds of white people spat and called her names.
She was six years old.
I do not know if I'll be strong like Ruby. I do not know what the world will look like when I am finally able to walk, speak, write... Another Buckeye! the nurse says to my mother. Already I am being named for this place.
Ohio. The Buckeye State. My fingers curl into fists, automatically This is the way, my mother said, of every baby's hand. I do not know if these hands will become Malcom's- raised and fisted or Martin's - open and asking or James's - curled around a pen. I do not know if these hands will be Rosa's or Ruby's gently gloved and fiercely folded calmly in a lap, on a desk, around a book, ready to change the world...
-Pages 3-5 Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson
In the poem, 2 day old Jaqueline is wondering what kind of leader she will be and what kind of change she will make. She refers to Martin Luther King Jr.'s hands as "open and asking" in a very peaceful matter, using words to make a change instead of violence. Jaqueline Woodson is a peaceful activist because she writes books and articles to educate younger and older audiences about The Civil Rights Movement and how activists like MLK Jr. , Malcom X, James Baldwin, Ruby bridges and Rosa Parks helped shape our society today.
Jaqueline Woodson's way of being an activist is also very similar to James Baldwin's way of being an activist because they both use writing to take a stand in what they beleive in. In the poem, Jaqueline explains that "James Baldwin is writing about injustice, each novel, each essay, changing the world." in the poem, and Jaqueline Woodson is doing the same, educating and teaching many people about how life was like and what was going on during the Civil Rights Movement and right after the time period.
Both Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges were very important women during the Civil Rights Movement and in American History. Rosa Parks was an activist who was willing to go to jail for what she stood for. Well in this case, sat for. Ruby Bridges was one of the bravest girls during the Civil Rights Movement, willing to attend an all white school at the age of 6. She showed everyone that you can be any age to make a difference. Surrounded and followed by guards everywhere, she was willing to do anything to attend a school with a better educational system than most of the black schools. At the age of 2 days old, Jaqueline is wondering if she will be a leader and an activist like Rosa and Ruby. She is wondering if "there hands will be Rosa's or Ruby's gently gloved and fiercely folded calmly in a lap, on a desk, around a book-" to which she refers to Rosa Parks sitting on the bus and Ruby studying in a classroom.