By Marilyn Nelson
In 1955, humans everywhere in the usa knew that Emmett Louis until was once a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white lady in Mississippi. The brutality of his homicide, the open-casket funeral, and the acquittal of the boys attempted for the crime drew huge media attention.
Award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose destiny helped spark the civil rights move. This martyr’s wreath, woven from a little-known yet refined kind of poetry, demanding situations us to talk out opposed to modern day injustices, to speak what we see.”
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Extra resources for A Wreath for Emmett Till
X, 1 L. P. R. , 20). At the time the Treaty of Paris was signed, the inhabitants of Puerto Rico went from being Spanish citizens to American subjects with no selfgovernment or political representation. After signing the Treaty of Paris, the United States proceeded to establish a military government in Puerto Rico. General Nelson A. Miles, who led the US troops, made the following proclamation upon his arrival to Puerto Rico on July 28, 1898: We have not come to make war upon the people of a country that for centuries has been oppressed, but, on the contrary, to bring you protection, not only to yourselves but to your property, to promote your prosperity, and to bestow upon you the immunities and blessings of the liberal institutions of our government.
After all, as we have seen, Puerto Ricans had firsthand experience of the harsh consequences of saying NO. Saying NO meant political persecution, saying NO on occasions meant death, saying NO meant losing the right to vote, saying NO meant losing the right to hold public office, saying NO meant cultural assimilation through the imposition of English; in short, saying NO meant being a victim of ontological violence. Therefore, not saying NO is a lesson that Puerto Ricans learned far too well; first, during the Spanish colonization and later under the US colonization.
We are Mr. Nobody from nowhere. We have no political status, no civil rights 32 M Puerto Rican Citizenship and Cultural Nationalism (United States Congress. House of Representatives. Hearings. House Committee on Insular Affairs. January 8 and 10, 1900, 103; see also, Berbusse 1966, 152). The controversy over US citizenship in Puerto Rico did not dissipate with the recognition of Puerto Rican citizenship. After all, without full Puerto Rican sovereignty, what did Puerto Rico citizenship mean? Did Puerto Rican citizenship mean that there was no hope of becoming an incorporated state?