Saturday, August 26, 2006

Poetry and girlpower

On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was declared in effect. Girlpower! Look for poetry collections that showcase girls, women, and their contributions and potential. Women’s History Month is in March, but we can share poems that celebrate girls any day! Here’s one of my favorites which also happens to be a gem of a mini-biography:

Harriet Tubman
by Eloise Greenfield

Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And wasn't going to stay one either

"Farewell!" she sang to her friends one night
She was mighty sad to leave 'em
But she ran away that dark, hot night
Ran looking for her freedom

She ran to the woods and she ran through the woods
With the slave catcher right behind her
And she kept on going till she got to the North
Where those mean men couldn't find her

Nineteen times she went back South
To get three hundred others
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save black sisters and brothers

Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And didn't stay one either
And didn't stay one either

from Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems by Eloise Greenfield

You’ll find many other poems to showcase and inspire girls in these collections:

Bush, Timothy. 2000. Ferocious Girls, Steamroller Boys, and Other Poems in Between. New York: Orchard Books.
Glaser, Isabel Joshlin, comp. 1995. Dreams of Glory: Poems Starring Girls. New York: Atheneum.
Paul, A. W. 1999. All by Herself: 14 Girls Who Made a Difference: Poems. San Diego, CA: Browndeer/Harcourt Brace.
Philip, Neil, comp. 2000. It’s a Woman’s World: A Century of Women’s Voices in Poetry. New York: Dutton.


Kathryn said...

My students loved this poem by Eloise Greenfield, Harriet Tubman. Last year, in order to open a discussion about poetry, I had a couple of our 6th grade girls read it together - one student read a line, then the other read the next line. The classes they recited the poem to were so attentive and that book stayed off the shelf all year, as well as other poetry books.

lilkunta said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this poem.
I learned it back in 94 & memorised it. 15yrs later I STIIILLLL remember it. I sing it as a song.

Thanks so much for this ms greenfield.

Anonymous said...

I remember my music teacher teaching my class and me this poem back in 5th grade! I could only remember the first stanza and had to look it up.