"The Strength You Contain"

by Shenequia Johnson


The birth of a slave’s strength

Came through the enemy’s rage.

Like ole Pharaoh in Moses’ days

Working in the fields of heat like fire.

Bound with shackles yet building empires

“Oh Mass’er, you got me bleeding and bent,

with them whips in your hands trying to take my strength.”

But We Are Not Your Victim

Though we labored 18 hours a day 

We are God’s mighty army!

And this suffering built our faith

Yes, you whipped our backs

And scarred our skin

Took our virtue

And mixed our kin 

But still, you could not break our strength

Because it is on our God we depend

And He will surely be our defense

So, you may have broken our pride

Scrambled our names

Hung us from trees

And brought us shame

But with our secret songs 

Our freedom was proclaimed

And our strength still remains.

The more you afflict us

The more were multiplied

That is why

Harriet Tubman saved 300 lives

And Maya Angelou had a poetic reply

While Martin Luther King Jr. died having a dream

So, President Barack Obama could serve twice on the scene.

Remember, there is a purpose in your pain

And it is the strength you contain.

Shenequia Johnson