Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor — Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where
Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free. (America never was America to me.) Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— Let it be that great strong land of love Where never
from “The Blues I’m Playing” by Langston Hughes, 1934 The girl at the piano heard the white woman saying, “Is this what I spent thousands of dollars to teach you?” “No,” said Oceola simply. “This is mine. . . . Listen! . . . How sad and gay it is. Blue and happy—laughing and crying.