A Message I Just Had to Repeat!

I realize that a vast majority of the public no longer gets the Sunday paper – either delivered, from the store or from a newspaper box.  I also realize that many pull their news from the web and, while they are able to consume a vast variety of headlines and human interest stories, they tend to miss many of the “less important” pieces.

I am afraid that one of those “missed opportunities” occurred today when the Freep ran an article on 88-year old Naomi Long Madgett who was honored last month by the Kresge Foundation with this year’s Eminent Artist Award, making her the first woman to receive metro Detroit’s most prestigious and lucrative award for an individual artist. It comes with a $50,000 prize.

While never being a great fan of poetry, I am now a big fan of Ms. Madgett and plan to get out there and look for her in my library. I might even go against my nature of sticking with libraries and make a bookstore purchase.

It was her poem, Midway, that I wanted to put out there for you.


I’ve come this far to freedom and I won’t turn back

I’m climbing to the highway from my old dirt track

I’m coming and I’m going

And I’m stretching and I’m growing

And I’ll reap what I’ve been sowing

or my skin’s not black

I’ve prayed and slaved and waited

and I’ve sung my song

You’ve bled me and you’ve starved me

but I’ve still grown strong

You’ve lashed me and you’ve treed me

And you’ve everything but freed me

But in time you’ll know you need me and it won’t be long.

I’ve seen the daylight breaking high above the bough

I’ve found my destination and I’ve made my vow;

so whether you abhor me

Or deride me or ignore me

Mighty mountains loom before me

and I won’t stop now.


While an extremely personal reflection, this is a message that truly resonates with me and that I plan to read over and over.  Though I was born a white male in a middle class household and have had all the opportunities that status conferred on me, I have tried to live my life with an understanding of the plight of those not so fortunate.  As we all work to lift up Detroit and those on the margins throughout our city, region and state, let us all take what we can from this amazing woman’s message.