For Jarvis

My visit to Jarvis as part of Founder’s Week Celebration inspired this poem that I wrote and shared with them as part of the 2018 Annual J.N. Ervin Lecture Series.

For Jarvis

May the grace and goodness of God guide you

May the alums and ancestors anchor you

May you always feel the love of the Negro Mother

And remember her passionate plea:

Don’t sit down; don’t turn around; don’t give up

Because you finds it a lil’ hard

You have seeds of survival and strength that have been

Watered by your ancestors’ tears of sorrow

Cherish those seeds within with compassion

Even as you water them with your own tears

Of struggle

So that you can be a tree

Proud and powerful

Strong, yet sensitive

Tough, yet tender

Able to bend and not break

with branches

Upon which others will


To their destinies of greatness.

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