Jo Anne Robinson – Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

The Heroines Among Us

Michael H. Brownstein recognizes a heroine that is not quite so well known, Jo Anne Robinson! An inspiring reminder that all great things achieved through history are not from one person and one person alone, but built in a collective action, and each person deserves recognition for their part.


Jo Anne Robinson

Once when I was teaching school,
the request was made of me to create
a lesson plan for Women’s History Month,
and I got right on it beginning
with famous women of color, but–
too many took their fifteen minutes
and made them into Jesse Jackson time.
Rosa Parks was not the first to get arrested
for not giving up her seat, just the luckiest:
Jo Ann Robinson, literate and intelligent,
made her into the icon she became
and we forgot the others, some who died,
for refusing to move. and then there were the
Harriet Tubmans’, smart and original,
his story denied them their true place
and found them another. She became
the head of the underground railroad,
a woman with headaches who could not read,
but really one of our greatest spies
who could memorized Confederate orders
and pass them on word for word to Sherman.
Other women of color freed thousands of slaves,
but his story could not let Tubman be
and she became somebody else.
His story is his story, personality
of the ones he wants us to know.
Let it go: Without Jo Ann Robinson
there would never have been a Rosa Parks,
a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a truth about choices..


Poet:

Michael H. Brownstein

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