Working Man

I am a working man.
I grow, chopped, and sampled your cotton.
I toiled the red clay of Mississippi.
I survived, though denied education and the right to vote.
I survived your lynchings.
I survived racism, a living relic of slavery.
I suffered indignities and injustice because of my color,
But I did not give up.
I kept my manhood.

I moved north to the promised land.
I built your trucks.
I ran your factories.
I scoured your floors.
I lived in your tenements.
I too am a working man.

I raised my family with a strong voice.
I taught them right from wrong.
I taught them dignity amidst poverty.
I taught them love and responsibility.
I taught them the meaning of struggle.
I built this nation.
I too am a working man.
I too am an American.

At the age of eighty-eight,
I embrace death with a kiss.
Death has ended my suffering.
To die is not a tragedy,
If one has lived and fought the good life.
In my last journey, I will not bow my head.
For I am a man.
I am an American.
I built this nation.