Friday, January 19, 2018

Merry-Go-Round #PoetryFriday

It's Poetry Friday, and I am trying to sustain the habit of writing. Today, I join Kay at A Journey Through the Pages and many others to share a bit of poetry on this once again cold weekend.

This is the time of year when my students and I read The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. This book leads us into a study of a historical time. Many discussions ensue from reading the book and the informational text that I include in the unit.

Each year, I glean the internet looking for additional resources or ways I can change things.  Last year I added "The Ballad of Birmingham" by Dudley Randall.  This year I am adding this poem by Langston Hughes.  I look forward to hearing students' thoughts on the metaphor of the merry-go-round, the voice of the narrator, and the connection to what they learn about the Jim Crow Laws.


Where is the Jim Crow section 
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride? 

Down South where I come from 
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put in the back— 

But there ain't no back
To a merry-go-round! 
Where's the horse 
For a kid that's black? 

~Langston Hughes


  1. I love Langston Hughes' poetry and this one is new to me. Thanks for sharing! By the way, did you see that Linda Mitchell has two poems about carousels on her post today as well?

  2. Oh, my goodness. I stopped by after seeing your comment to me....and there is a merry-go-round which surprised me and then the poem. Wow! I didn't know this one before. Thank you for introducing it to me. This is a perfect gem for me to take to my middle schoolers as we get closer to our study of civil rights. Thank you. I love the book, Watson's Go to Birmingham. I'm so glad you are immersing students in those words and all the love they hold.

  3. I've been reading lots of Langston Hughes these days. I find it amazing how well his poetry speaks to today as well as to his own time. I can't wait to hear what your students make of this one.