A rousing new video connects the Jim Crow-era activism of famed American poet Langston Hughes to the activism of today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement.
The video, published online Wednesday by the group Color of Change, has actor Danny Glover reading Hughes’ 1938 poem “Kids Who Die” over a series of haunting images: the Cleveland park where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was gunned down by police, the Oakland train station where 22-year-old Oscar Grant was also killed by cops, and a group of riot officers with their guns aimed at a black protester in Ferguson, Missouri, among others.
“This is for the kids who die,” opens Hughes’ poem. “Black and white / For kids will die certainly / The old and rich will live on awhile, /As always, / Eating blood and gold, / Letting kids die.”
“August 9th is a big day for the movement,” Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, said in a statement announcing the video’s release. This Sunday marks one year since the death of Michael Brown — the black, unarmed 18-year-old gunned down by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. His death touched off riots and peaceful protests in the St. Louis suburb.
The date “also symbolizes the incredible volition and power of the people of Ferguson and the birthing of another movement centered on Black lives,” Robinson said. “But it also shows how the brutal assault of Black people did not end with the Jim Crow era, it has only shifted and adapted to take on a new form of oppression and violence that has manifested in rampant killing of Black people at the hands of the state.”