The Black Bird A Fable  The Post Black Negro

The Black Bird A Fable  The Post Black Negro


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came on the slave ship by yo self didn’t you / you was the only sardine on board

even had a restroom just for you / no black history month for you

world history is yo thing / european history really



Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man’s Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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The Black Bird—A Fable By Marvin X

The cage door was always open, but the little bird wouldn’t come out. He loved the cage, he had been in it so long. Other birds would fly into the white house and beg the little bird to come out, but he wouldn’t. Sad, the other birds would fly away home to paradise, their hearts white with anger and sorrow for their lost brother who loved the cage. “He is so hard-headed, “the other birds said on their way home, “but we will get him out, we will get him out….” He was a smart bird. Nobody could tell him anything—except his master.

He could sing too. When the master sang, the little bird sang. He knew all of the master’s songs by heart. He didn’t like to sing bird songs. From all around, people came to see him do tricks. The little bird knew a lot of tricks the master had trained him to do when visitors came to the white house. He was a good house pet. The little bird was so good his master always left his cage door open; he knew the little bird had forgotten what freedom was. “Come, fly away to freedom with us,” the other birds would say. But the little bird didn’t want to go for self!  “I like being in a cage,” he said. “You birds are the crazy ones—get away from me!!!”

For days and days, the black bird would sit in the cage looking at himself in the mirror. “He is such a beautiful black bird,” all the visitors said. “Yes,” the master said, “I have a good bird.” To himself, the master said, “This little black fool has made me rich doing tricks and he’s too dumb to fly away to freedom—what a stupid bird!”

The master would feed the bird crumbs from his table. The little bird loved the crumbs so much he wouldn’t eat anything else, not even when the other birds sneaked into the master’s house and offered the little bird some righteous soulfood.

One day the master’s house caught on fire. Nobody knew how the fire started, not even the little black bird. The master fought hard to put the fire out, but there were too many flames, so he ran outside, leaving the little black bird behind. The flames grew bigger and bigger, but the little black bird just sat in his cage. Maybe he was waiting for his master to return….

Then, suddenly, a friendly bird flew into the burning white house, “Black bird!” he yelled, “don’t you know the house is on fire??? Hurry—come fly away with me!” “But I love my cage,” the black bird cried, “I want to stay!”

“You want to burn,” said the friendly bird. The friendly bird went into the cage, grabbed the black bird and flew away from the burning house. “Bye, master,” the black bird yelled as he passed his master who was crying in the yard. “Bye, master,” the little bird called out again—he was on his way home.

(c)1968, 2007 

The Black Bird is Marvin X’s classic fable written in 1968. Many children were taught this story by conscious parents, including journalist Wanda Sabir of the San Francisco Bayview newspaper.

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The Post Black Negro

By Marvin X

he ain’t black, never was

his mama wasn’t black

some colored lady from mississippi

not black

not to him

when she served miss ann

not black in the cotton field

yellin for his black ass to hurry up youngin

not black when she sent him to college to be a man

not black man just man

be human

love everybody and get ahead in life

so he became a success

hid from the black girls in college

did mama tell him that in the cotton field

tell him to hate his sisters

don’t lie on mama post-black negro

don’t lie

you just dreamed of white girls in the cotton patch

wanted masta’s daughter but knew he would lynch yo ass

so you waited til you got up south

got smart read two books on whiteness and crossed over jordan

wouldn’t join the BSU too black for you

you multicultural now

no more collard greens in yo canning jar

you crossed where mama never told you to go

no nigguhs in yo world

no negroes

no coons

no diggaboos

no burnt matches

you did it all by yo self

came on the slave ship by yo self didn’t you

you was the only sardine on board

even had a restroom just for you

no black history month for you

world history is yo thing

european history really

want nothing to do with Africa, Asia, the Americas

that’s a black thang

ain’t into that shit

nigguh history, hell no

we is americans 100%

we is citizens

don’t know why we renew voting rights

whites don’t

chicanos don’t

why us blacks

that’s why i ain’t claimin black

too inconvenient being black





cross over and love everybody

leave dem nappy headed girls alone

don’t want no nappy headed kids

don’t care if I went to Yale and Stanford

Harvard and Princeton

I don’t see color

I’m beyond such a thing

this is the post black world

get hipped.

We got Alambama for president

see he ain’t really black

he African and white

that ain’t black that’s…post black

he american like bush and hillary

imperialist too

will send troops to Iran and Pakistan

will hunt ben laden like bush didn’t

will prove his post blackness

so you too.

blond that weave

cross the line and be right for the new times

still stuck in blackness

going nowhere

we american so like it or leave it

don’t call me black we go fight.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 9 December 2007 / updated 12 July 2008



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