They came to America on a multitude of ships,
Bound in captivity by iron shackles and chains.
They were sold at auctions to southern plantation owners,
And forced to labor on farm lands unfamiliar to them.
President Lincoln called for a change in the 1860s,
To free the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation.
Many white southerners felt threatened by this agenda,
And the deadly north versus south Civil War ensued.
Three million soldiers fought on those American battlefields,
And each of them fought to protect an important cause.
So many men lost their lives on both sides of this battle,
And when the war was finally over, the end to slavery followed.
It would seem that life would have greatly improved,
But the struggles for the black race continued to hover.
Segregation in schools and everyday life was dehumanizing,
And the formation of various hate groups did not help the matter.
The mid 20th century was a true testament of the time,
When the civil rights issue became our society’s focus.
Then in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat,
Stirring a national movement that inspired quite a few others.
One of those men we know as Martin Luther King Jr.,
A minister who was instrumental in sharing his dream.
One day, he believed, the racial barriers would break down,
Allowing for all Americans to live together, equally and in peace.
The tide began to turn in the pursuit of equality for the races,
With President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
No more discrimination based on race, color, and religion,
And the federal government could now enforce desegregation.
Still there was unrest throughout the land, especially in the South,
With several deaths occurring at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan.
The lives of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X were taken and the riots continued on,
Then voting rights and affirmative action became a presidential order.
Moving along to the present day, where racial tensions are much better,
But there is still an underlying tone of prejudice and discrimination.
Thankfully, there is equality under the law and protection for each citizen,
Because no one, regardless of who they are, deserves to be unjustly treated.