Between the Lines

Random reflections from the youth in a juvenile correctional facility.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Black History in Rap and Prose

Each year during Black History Month students in the library classes read and write about different people. They work on these reports for a period of two weeks. Several reports are chosen to be read to the other students in class.

One Saturday morning this year I saw a TV program on ‘Flocabulary’ [Harrison, Blake, and Alexander Rappaport. Flocabulary. Kennebunkport: Cider Mill P Book, 2006.] where students learned SAT words by rapping and rhyming so they won’t forget them. I decided to try this with my classes to help them learn in a different way about the people they wrote about for Black History. After 3 days writing their rap/poems they then read them to the other students.

I made arrangements with N. Wertz, LYDC computer teacher, to have the students type their raps in her class. The typed copies were sent to the Art room to be put on our school blog. LYDC Librarian, H. Boose ☺

Jack Johnson

1870 something 1870 something/
When Jack Johnson was born /
growing up in the hard knocks of Texas /
while his dad wasn’t driving /
No Lexis. /
He became one of the greatest boxers of them all. /
He died in a car crash/
and that was the end .


Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm’s her name/
She was born 1924/
In Brooklyn, New York/
She teached half of her life/
Never had a husband present in her life/
She earned a majors degree/
In education you see/
Getting money was the object/
She still is alive today/
She returned to her first love/
Education in 1983/
Today she teaches at Mount Holyoke,
College in Massachusetts/
Shirley Chisholm is still here on earth TODAY!

[Chisholm died in 2005]


Harriet Tubman

H- Harriet Tubman was born
A- And
R- Raised a slave
R- Rescued enough slaves
I- In the South to be rewarded.
E- Ended off still being
T- Tubman


James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson/
Was a well known man/
He was born next to another black man/
As he got older he became a teacher/
An don’t let me forget he was a civil rights leader /
He was the first black lawyer,/
He had his bachelors degree, an after he finished school he was a principal /
At Stanton elementary /
In the 1900s he wrote the national anthem/
This gave blacks hope/
And yes that includes the ones who was shooting dope/
He wrote Sleeping Beauty and other great songs/
Like Humpty Dumpty an Hey Man You’re Wrong/
On June 26, 1938 he died by a train when it/
Struck his car so I guess that’s it.


James Jessie Owens

James Jessie Owens

Born in Ohio
Nineteen –n- thirteen
Ran the track for his black power team

Won four gold medals
Track n field
But he lost ‘em
Said black power and it cost ‘em

Nineteen thirty six
Berlin Olympics
He got tight
Adolf Hitler talking bout races and he thought he was right

Nine teen fifty five
Flew to India
As a good will
Did it for a reason
Not for a dollar bill


George W. Carver

C - creative
A - awesome
R - responsible
V - very special person to certain people
E - easy to get along with
R - ready to create something

W – was known as the greatest

C - creative
A - awesome
R - responsible
V - very special person to certain people
E - easy to get along with
R - ready to create something


Malcolm X

Malcolm X grew up poor,
Holes in his shoes no carpet on the floor,
No mom or dad,
No money bags,
Drop out in 8th grade so he didn’t grad,
It sounds bad, but it turned out good,
Later on in his life like the man knew he would,
So he moved to Boston,
Then later on to Harlem,
At the age of 16 he got in some problems,
He did a burglary and caught a charge,
In jail he rewrote the dictionary,
And found Allah


John R. Michell JR

Born Richmond Virginia
1880 gold medal speaker.

Reporter for New York globe
1884 bought the Richmond paper.

1890 president of Afro American press association
Formed groups that boycotted Richmond buses

He wrote stories of the army’s abuse to black soldiers
Died at home on December 3, 1929

He was a man of success
He was not afraid of death.

He did whatever helped the people
By using the newspaper

The pen is mightier than the sword
He proved that among many things.


Jackie Robinson

In Cairo Georgia January 31
a lady name Robinson gave birth
soon the baby became a freak
played basketball every day of the week.
Later he went to the university of California
there he played more baseball than all of us.
soon the baseballs became into bullets
and the only thing he could think of
is how he going to do this!
He thought about it and realized
that he had to run but 4 bases
became 4 years he later got married
and died being a great baseball star


Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman a.k.a.
Mother of her people
Ya that’s ha name.
She was a slave for many years
But still went down in fame.
All her masters would abuse her,
But she was a strong dame.
She had a dream to be free,
But her husband a free man
Didn’t really agree.
He straight told her ma
You must be crazy!
Her brothers were down,
But when it was time to put in work
They didn’t bother sticking around.
So she just grabbed the shottie,
And headed for town.
But that wasn’t enough,
So she went back around.
Freed a thousand slaves by using the underground
Railroad without making a sound.
She loved doing good for her people so in 1863
This brave black woman led the union army.
She was a spy, a scout, and a nurse,
Who would of thought in 1913
This strong black sista ended up in a hearse?


Barney Ford

Barney Ford didn’t go to school.
Because he thought it wasn’t cool
He went to mine for gold
So he could be bold
He wasn’t allowed to have any land
He thought that wasn’t grand
He liked to build hotels
So you could check into a motel
He had over $250,000
So he was worth a hefty price
He used his money to help blacks
So he wasn’t wack


Malcom X

Growing up it was a struggle

Just cause of my skin color

So I chose to make the hustle

It was hard with all the racists

They treated me like a rapist/ an outcast

But I knew from the beginning that I would outlast

The time came for me and my people to come up

Cause I was tired of always being a f@*! Up

Me and my Muslim brothers spread the word

And I tried to do the right thing

But there were a bunch of haters and back stabbers

That’s when I heard the gun clatter

And it was all over.


Matthew Henson

Matthew Henson was the best in the world, he even sailed to the top of the world. He believed in the god and the quest to haven opposing his belief he carried weapons. He met commander Robert E parry and was proud of the crew that he carried. Matthew Henson was the best.


Harriet Tubman

[Chorus] 4 xs
She was a slave she led them out

She wasn’t afraid so she freed the slaves/
he underground railroad that’s what freed the slaves/
she led the union army that’s what started the riot/.


Marry Church Terrel

Marry Church Terrel rhymes With Jegnrell Or Fairy Tell
She was a woman of great importance
For instance she spoke three languages
And spoke out against people who discriminated
against black people
She was born in Memphis Tennessee which rhymes with tea
She died in 1891
After accomplishing all she did
Her name therefore went down in history.


Jack Johnson

First black heavyweight boxer
Living life and living large
Dated a white chick and caught a charge
Started small and made his way
In 1910 he was fighting every day
He messed up and fled the state and cried
Came back, fought, lost and died.


Ellen Craft

There was a once a women name Ellen Craft
She escaped from slavery with her man.
She went to Boston with a plan
At first she was feared because her name is Ellen Craft
She made it to Boston with her man
A couple years later she skip to England and
Made a book talking about slavery in the past
She had five children and went back to her old homeland
Made a school for the blacks on how to learn a trade
She then passed in 1897.


Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy
Worked on trains

He invented the automatic
Lubricating machine

He lived in Detroit
Up in Michigan

He spoke with young black

To work hard and stay strong

Elijah invented all kinds of unusual

Today he’s still known as the “Real McCoy”


John Sweet Rock

John Sweet Rock
Had the dentist on lock
It was 1850 when he open up shop
It was located in Philly on da block
In 1860 John Sweet stopped
He became a recruiter for da troops top notch
From his activities
In law he got a degree
Da first black judge in da Supreme to be
Even though he was a Negro part of the Black race
When Taney the judge died John took his place
It was unheard of whites couldn’t focus
After two years of being a judge he died from Tuberculosis
He couldn’t even celebrate for doing something he loved
But still he became the first black Supreme Court judge.


Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was a hero
He made a light for a black man
Born and raised in the ghetto //with//
Hopes bigger than Shaq’s hands

In 1887 he dropped from his mom’s womb
The youngest of 8 kids
That was poorer than 8 pigs

He didn’t get discouraged instead he fought for change
To take it back to Africa where we would all be the same
In the end he didn't succeed
But will always be remembered.


George was one of a kind but little did people know how fast he would grow. He was born in 1849 and died 1891. He was one of the best in the army, but not just that he was a very nice man who didn’t like to kill so he got out of the army and became a lawyer. He was from the US. But when he really found out what freedom meant to him he published a group of books about Negro troops and rebellion. As he got older he started to travel because of the black people. When he died in 1891 his dream was that the sea air would ease his tuberculosis.


Jackie Robinson

We all know Jackie Robinson
He’s known as a sportsman and a scholar.
He broke the color barrier.


Ellen Craft

Ellen Craft
Married a William Craft
Born a slave
To her father
A master
She was given
As a present
Her father
Sold her mother
When she was only
Eleven years old
She stole away
With her husband
She dressed as a master
Just as her father
They went to Canada
Then over seas to England
Later came back to the U.S.
And opened a school.


W.E.B. DuBois

Du bois web
Fed up with all the pain
Tired of all the games
Both parents split
Left him in the mix

His mother passed away
He plays like its ok
Graduated from school
Where he learned all the rules
And they treated him like a foul
His soul wouldn’t break

He was serious looked into
Education to curious in 88
Down in Nashville Tennessee
Is where he would be received
A player hater degree first Black
It’s a fact started a magazine for
Black needs it was the nicest he
Named it The Crisis he started a
Group from the N.A.A.C.P.
What’s it gonna be fight or flee
come and join me



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