For Dr. Marvin Dunn
Sir, I read you don’t want woke citizens and signed
a bill that prohibits workplace training or instruction
that teaches people are “privileged or oppressed
based on race,” so students won’t suffer over actions
in the past, because no one should be discriminated
against or shamed, and you won’t tolerate indoctrination
with radical ideas like Critical Race Theory that holds
governments accountable for Jim Crow segregation.
But, sir, where does that leave my family’s story?
I was born at home. Black women weren’t allowed
in county hospitals. I drank from unequal water
fountains, sat in the rear of a bus on my way
to join the Navy yet couldn’t try on a suit in Burdines.
Can I teach that to my students, Mr. Governor?
About the Poem
The poem is based on the news story and the Twitter feed of Dr. Marvin Dunn, who is now being censored by Twitter for exposing the facts (with photographs) about Jim Crow segregation in Florida.
About the Author
Geoffrey Philp is the author of five books of poetry, two collections of short stories, three children’s books, and two novels. His next collection of poems, Archipelagos (Peepal Tree Press), uses Sylvia Wynter’s readings of Cesaire and Foucault along with Amitav Ghosh’s paradigm to explore the connection between colonialism, capitalism, and Christianity in the Plantationocene.
Philp gives us an important epistolary expression of one aspect of a continuing decline of democracy in Florida. Controlling what is taught, means controlling what is thought; as Florida goes so goes the nation.
Excellent poem, strong and worthy. Thank you for writing it. I hope it gets a wide audience.