November 30, 2023
This poem by Langston Hughes was discovered by a rare-books cataloger in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It was scrawled in the pages of a book called “An Anthology of Revolutionary Poetry.” The poem itself could be an entry. The speaker, a Black person, sees the world as a “fenced-off narrow space,” an unnecessarily walled place, and resolves to obliterate cruel boundaries. It’s a timeless sort of gesture, at home in the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement — or now.