Hey Black Child by Eugene Useni Perkins

This is one of my favorite poems.

hey-black-child1

Hey Black Child

Hey Black Child,

Do you know who you are?

Who you really are?

Do you know you can be

What you want to be?

If you try to be

what you can be.

Hey Black Child,

Do you know where you’re going?

Where you’re really going?

Do you know you can learn

What you want to learn?

If you try to learn

What you can learn?

Hey Black Child,

Do you know you are strong?

I mean really strong?

Do you know you can do

What you want to do?

If you try to do

What you can do?

Hey Black Child,

Be what you can be

Learn what you must learn

Do what you can do

And tomorrow your nation will be what you want it to be.

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36 Responses

  1. man i love this poems it just really mean alot 2 me

  2. MAN THIS POEMS ROCK

  3. I remember this poem from my elementary years, third grade to be exact. I cannot believe how relevant and true this poem is today. “Yes We Can”!

  4. I do too. I love this poem.

  5. i luv this poem it is special it brakes me down in tears barack obama we made it thank you very much

  6. lord thank u for making history

  7. i love this poem so much. its my favorite

  8. I won First Place in an Oratorical Contest with this Poem. I attended Booker T. Washington Middle School back in 1991 and I still remember the words like it was yesterday, it still gives me that Boost that we all need every now and then.

  9. MY KIDS (ISYSS, 4), (AALIYAH, 2) SAY THIS POEM HEY BLACK CHILD EVERY MORNING AND WHEN I PICK THEM UP FROM PRESCHOOL THEY KNOW ALL OF THE WORDS AND THIS IS THEIR FAVORITE THING TO SAY. IT USE TO BE SINGING BEYONCE SONGS THANKS FOR EXPANDING, AND EDUCATING THEIR MINDS. :)

  10. You are more than welcome Alisha. Keep those children reading. You’re doing the right thing. Whatever I can do to help, let me know.

  11. I had the pleasure of meeting the wife of this Great Man on last night at an awards ceremony. It was truly an honor. And to know that he lives in my city makes it the more awesome.

  12. I love this poem too, my mom had a poster in our room growing up as children and now I am going to do the same for my daughter. You can never teach self love early enough!!!

  13. I love this poem dearly my mother has had this poem hanging in her home for years. This is a CLASSIC!

  14. I have started to recite this poem to my two little girls everyday!!!!!!!!!!! I truly love this poem.

  15. I love this poem. My 26 year old son recited Hey Black Child when he was a preschooler. I lost my copy years ago, but thank God for the internet I have it again.

  16. I would love it if you came to my school XXXXXX Elemenerary school on Siwel RD.This is my school’s#XXX-XXX-XXX We choir students are trying to learn this lovely poem for black history month.Call me@XXX-XXX-XXX. I am in 5th grade.e-mail me if you like.

  17. that was so pretty lovely

  18. Four of my five sons, age 4,7,7,and 10 will recite this poem on tomorow, Lord willing, at a Black history program. Today is the first time I remember hearing it, (I’m ashamed to say) but I look forward to reading more of Mr. Perkins work.

  19. I recited this poem in my 3rd grade elocution contest and won the grand prize. I recited it to my mother like 3 months ago and she couldn’t believe that I still remembered it. It was published in a book with some other poems…Does anyone happen to know the name of that poetry book?

  20. Kim, the only book that I know that written about him is this book called Black Authors & Illustrators of Books for Children & Young Adults by Barbara Thrash Murphy.

  21. I have been looking for this poem for a while. This poem is one of the best poem that i have heard.

  22. I Luv this poem,its so inspiring & motivates me to continue forth in my dreams & goals. Cause I am strong & I can do what ever it is that I dream to do. Thanx Mr. Perkins for puting thos out here.

  23. the poems is very nice but,we african can never be what we,bcs we keep somuch praying on things that they will never came to us.we do not keep our heat up to say what we want to be.,,,,,,,,,,,,if we cant say it to out leathers?we can also say it to the visitirs.but we do not and that why we can never..

  24. I have a class studying literature and poems and I noticed this poem on the wall at my son’s school and it was such an inspiration to me; I love this poem.

  25. One of the most amazing and touchin poem ever written.

  26. I remember like was yesterday you gave me this poem my Mom work at the college when you use to work. I love it, its great. Now I’m much older I respect your Good quality work

  27. This is one poem that should have never left Chicago Public Schools……..maybe graduation rates would be higher………

  28. …this poem is sooooo what is needed among our children today!!!!!!!!!!

  29. You are exactly right. I will make sure to pass this out, especially during Black History Month.

  30. I remember Mrs.Perkins who was his wife and also my.first grade teacher making us recite this poem every morning! She was my favorite teacher and this poem Still do something to me.

  31. Carmeysha I loved that poem as a child. I remember the first time I heard it I just knew that black child was me because I did not know who I was or where I was going. I think a whole generation of black children may have very well felt the same way. Did you ever get a chance to meet him?

  32. I was a kid and I saw the poem on a poster being sold at a Muslim summer get together !!! I bought it for a few dollars . I hung it on my wall and said it everyday. I was a young teen then but kept it until it fell apart. Once I became a teacher everyone of my classes said it along with a poem I wrote. To end “I LOVE THIS POEM” !!!!!!!!!!!

  33. I know. I do love this poem. It reminds me of when I was in junior high school.

  34. OMG,
    I Lovee This Poem so *MUCHHH !

  35. i love this poem im im in too poetry

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