- Poem for Queen Mother Moore
Ndichia Ndichia Ndichiaaaaaa
(you woman close to the ancestors)"Queen Mother" Audley Mooreb. July 27, 1898, New Iberia, La.d. May 28, 1997, N.Y.C.
we are here today to honoryou, to praise you,Queen Mother Moore.you who have movedthrough mornings and midnites,through deaths and dawns,to bring us a newer andbetter life. A newer andbetter country.a newer and better world;
we are here today to praiseyou, Queen Mother Moore.you who searched the countryto document our bonesyou who measured oursteps from Negro to African,from Garvey to Malcolm. [End Page 163] you. always punctual with your mouthat a time when white mobspunctuated our days,at a time when the soundof blood testicles fromsouthern trees and electricchairs, made us weepache for the sons and fathers & mothersdead before their time;
i remember the first time isaw you mother. It wassunday and i sat with thesound of centuries in my ears.and you crossed the stage,began to talk and you summonedup the previous talks, calledupon our last ritesand you said:
i was about 19 or 20 when Marcus Garveycame to New Orleans and the mayorwouldn't allow him to speak. thehall was full of black people, we weretold to go home. we were so incensed,we decided to demand that he speak.so the next night, everyone came tothe hall again and we were toldto bring our "piece" with us.everybody went to the hallwith a gun. i had two, one inmy bosom and the other in mypocketbook.
the hall was packed withpeople, but it was alsopacked with police officers,all white. when Garvey camewe were so happy.Garvey said: my friends, i wantto apologize for not being able tospeak to you last nite, but [End Page 164] the mayor of new orleans was usedas a stooge by the police dept toprevent me from speaking.
the police jumped up and said:"i'll run you in for that. and whenhe said that, everybody took their"piece" out, held it up in the air,stood on the benches and said,
"Speak Garvey, Speak!"
Garvey said, "as i was saying . . .and the police turned red as crawfishand filed out of there like littlewounded puppy dogs . . . .
Marcus Garvey was a greatman. he made us understandabout Africa, what it meantand the great heritage we had . . . .
i remember you: Queen Mother Moore.mother. wife. activist. intellectual.grandmother. sister. queen mother.garveyite. organizer. leader. communist.nationalist. teacher of Malcolm X.thinker.
Queen Mother Moore who taughtus that "Negro" was a terrible word.you were responsible for ourpeople discarding that word.you opposed the word "Black" too.you said: neither one indicateswhere you came from and bothare derogatory.
you said: they not only calledus Negroes, they made us negroes,"things" that don't know wherethey came from and don't ever [End Page 165] care that they don't know.you said: Negro is a state of mindand they massacred our minds.
but not your mind my dear sister.who in the 1950s began your talkabout reparations. you said:they owe us more than they couldever pay. they stole our language.they stole our culture. they workedus free of charge. 18hrs a day,7 days a week. under the lashfor centuries. we lost over100 million lives in slavery.
it's past due. the United Stateswill never be able to pay usall they owe us. they don't havethe money. but they owe it.they've got to do it, to save whiteAmericans, they've got to do it.i'll be able to rest whenwe get reparations . . .
i hope we can do that foryou so that you can restmy dear sister.
i hope you will forgive usfor not hearing you soonerin this house of american pain.
i remember you, on that...