Published on Academy of American Poets (

Black Girls Rising

Our Black bodies, sacred.
Our Black bodies, holy.

Our bodies, our own.
Every smile a protest.
Every laugh a miracle.

Piece by piece we stitch ourselves back together.
This Black girl body
that gets dragged out of school desk, slammed onto floor,
tossed about at pool side, pulled over and pushed onto grass,
arrested, never to return home,
shot on doorsteps, on sofas while sleeping 
and dreaming of our next day.

Our bodies, a quilt that tells the story of the middle passage.
Of roots yanked and replanted.

Our bodies, a mosaic of languages forgotten,
of freedom songs and moaned prayers.

Our bodies no longer
disregarded, objectified, scrutinized.

Our bodies, our own.
Every smile a protest.
Every laugh a miracle.

Our bodies rising. 
Our feet marching, legs dancing, our bellies birthing, hands raising, 
our hearts healing, voices speaking up.

Our bodies.
So Black, so beautiful.

Here, still.
Rising, rising.


From Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Renée Watson. Reprinted by permission of the author. 


Renée Watson

Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor.

Date Published: 2017-01-01

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