Trayvon Martin's 'Crime' was The Color of His Skin?

We still have a long way to go concerning race

Posted Mar 25, 2012

The current painful story of Trayvon's Martin senseless murder reminds many of us that some things haven't changed over decades of life.

The poem below was written by the late Leo Richards (1917 -1996). A wonderful poet--some of his poems were included in an anthology edited by Langston Hughes. In this poem, the gun shot came from a police officer, but the message, problem, and ever-present concern for many people of color is the same. This poem (below), and others of his, is included in the eBook, Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love.

THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN

The young man lay within the sealed-off street,
Blood oozing slowly from the angry bullet wounds.
The officer, stone-faced, eyed the gathering crowd
As he waited for the radioed EMS.

A woman yelled, "Officer, what is the charge?"
Unsmiling, he flipped a sheet, and read
"Menacing. Resisting arrest."
Another woman screamed, "We know the charge!
The usual charge, what's his crime?"

An old man with saddened eyes replied,
His crime, his only crime,
Is the color of his skin."
-LR

Copyright © 2012 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Any excerpts from this article should include a hyperlink to this--my original post on Psychology Today, with author credit. Feel free to post the link to this, and any of my PT posts, to your social network pages.

Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love (an eBook with poems about faith, family, friends, love, adultery, race issues, living Black in America, death, and more. Contains adult content.)

About the Author

Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.

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