Friday, February 25, 2011

For My Grandfather: Cotton Soldiers

I decided to take a break from books, the paranormal, and reviews in order to honor my grandfather, CSM (Ret) A.C. Cotton for Black History Month.  I wrote my Master's thesis on him because he rocks and made History when he became the first (and only) black command sergeant major of the First Cavalry Division. I'm turning that thesis into a book (a slow process) but here is a poem I wrote in honor of him a few years ago.

Cotton Soldiers

Long before a million men marched you stood silently, prying skin from chicken heads.
Black panthers running wild,
Slaying little white ponies for less money.
Bearing the stars and stripes while
Dampening those colors:
Red and Blue or,
Black and Blue.
Purple and Swelling, heartbroken by said countrymen.
Eating Mississippi soup while riding bare assed
On Buffaloes,
Made, then ripped with
The first total war.
Patton pleading to you,
Dear Soldier.
Long before the movement, you worked
Sweating like black crows against tar.
Nine sweet soldiers lynched, all in a row.
For freedom,
For me, and
After Good wars, you stood, with white child molesters, or as they were, in the past.
You sew a new skin for them, sweet Soldier.
In 1968 it past,
Between your breast, blood on your iron horse.
Your country green
and navy blue.
No Limit trembles in your wake,
Make em say Ahhhhhhhhh!
I write, laying in your armored footsteps,
Your cavalry yellow,
You Modern Bill you!
A Video Tribute to the First Cavalry Division and a Saucy Pin up! Enjoy!


Vamchoir said...

Wow. What a powerful sentiment for your grandfather. The Buffalo Soldiers really did face a lot of horrifying social issues - trials that just seem so unthinkable to me. Then again, my own great-grandfather was murdered for the cash he carried (they found his body in the river) and because his wife could not feed their children, my grandmother was "farmed out" as a very young girl and she worked hard for a very cruel woman raising her children and keeping house.

These stories of struggle and victory over huge obstacles speak to all of us ... no matter what race, religion or gender we might belong to. Cruelty has been the bane of human existence for far too long and it crosses all demographics. (I'm ready for Nirvana to happen, myself - ready for the gap between rich and poor to be erased.)

HEY -- I'm giving your blog a personalized award. To pick up your comic (the award) please see my Vampire Review blog. Instructions are there ... it's actually quite fun to participate so I hope you collect.

Walter Knight said...

There can never be enough history research, and there are so many stories that still need to be told. I hope you get CSM A.C.Cotton's story right.

Besides your tribute, I loved that video, too.