Langston Hughes

Kids Who Die

This is for the kids who die, Black and white, For kids will die certainly. The old and rich will live on awhile, As always, Eating blood and gold, Letting kids die. Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi Organizing sharecroppers Kids will die in the streets of Chicago Organizing workers Kids will die in the orange groves of California Telling others to get together Whites and Filipinos, Negroes and Mexicans, All kinds of kids will die Who don't believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment And a lousy peace. Of course, the wise and the learned Who pen editorials in the papers, And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names White and black, Who make surveys and write books Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die, And the sleazy courts, And the bribe-reaching police, And the blood-loving generals, And the money-loving preachers Will all raise their hands against the kids who die, Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets To frighten the people— For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people— And the old and rich don't want the people To taste the iron of the kids who die, Don't want the people to get wise to their own power, To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together Listen, kids who die— Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you Except in our hearts Maybe your bodies'll be lost in a swamp Or a prison grave, or the potter's field, Or the rivers where you're drowned like Leibknecht But the day will come— You are sure yourselves that it is coming— When the marching feet of the masses Will raise for you a living monument of love, And joy, and laughter, And black hands and white hands clasped as one, And a song that reaches the sky— The song of the life triumphant Through the kids who die.

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