AfroPoets Famous Writers


I have believed in my convictions
and been convicted for my beliefs.
I have been conned by the Constitution
and harassed by the police.
I have been billed for the Bill of Rights
as though I'd done something wrong.
I have become a special amendment
for what included me all along.
Like: 'All men are created equal.'
(No amendment needed there)
I've contributed in every field including cotton
from Sunset Strip to Washington Square.
Back during the non-violent era
I was the only non-violent one.
Come to think of it there was no non-violence
'cause too many rednecks had guns.
There seems to have been this pattern
that took a long time to pick up on.
But all black leaders who dared stand up
wuz in jail, in the courtroom or gone.
Picked up indiscriminately
by the shocktroops of discrimination
to end up in jails or tied up in trials
while dirty tricks soured the nation.
I've been hoodwinked by professional hoods,
My ego had happened to me.
'Just keep things cool!' they kept repeating.
'And keep the people out of the streets.
We'll settle all this at the conference table.
You leave everything to me.'
Which brings me back to my convictions
and being convicted for my beliefs
'cause I believe these smiles
in three piece suits
with gracious, liberal demeanor
took our movement off the streets
and took us to the cleaners.
In other words, we let up the pressure
and that was all part of their plan
and every day we allow to slip through our fingers
is playing right into their hands.

Written by Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)


Gil Scott-Heron Poets Page