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Hope: Pauli and Paul on Juneteenth

Pauli Murray; icon by Barbara Clowney,   Barbara Ballenger/St Martin in the Fields,  Philadelphia Hope is a crushed stalk Between clenched fingers Hope is a bird’s wing Broken by a stone. Hope is a word in a tuneless ditty — A word whispered with the wind, A dream of forty acres and a mule, A cabin of one’s own and a moment to rest, A name and place for one’s children And children’s children at last . . . Hope is a song in a weary throat. Give me a song of hope And a world where I can sing it. Give me a song of faith And a people to believe in it. Give me a song of kindliness And a country where I can live it. Give me a song of hope and love And a brown girl’s heart to hear it. 1 —— In her long poem Dark Testament of which this movement or stanza is perhaps the most well-known and certainly most excerpted, our Yale "saint" Pauli Murray reflects on the history of African Americans, and of other Americans, in a narrative through which the theme of hope is woven. That na

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