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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Education of Jah Amiel

Jah Amiel went out the backdoor of his house and knocked on his grandpa's door. Grandpa was lying down
proofreading but got up when he heard his grandson at the door. He had
to get up for the little savior of the world, as his grandson told him
he was going to be.

He opened the door and Jah Amiel came in on a mission as he nears his third year on earth, May 31. "I want to see the
American," he told his grandpa excitedly.

The American!
The American!
I want to see the American! His grandpa had no idea what he was talking about, until Jah Amiel pointed to the large
poster of Langston Hughes on the wall.

Oh, Langston Hughes?
Yeah. On the computer.
Oh, you want to see Langston Hughes read I, Too, Am America?
Ok, ok.
Grandpa turned on Youtube and found the site with Langston Hughes reading his classic poem.
Meantime Jahmiel found a tape dispenser and pulled off a piece.
Gonna tape my mouth.
Not now, Jah Amiel, you gonna read with Langston.
Ok. He stopped for a moment to read along with Langston.

I, too, sing America

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes.
But I laugh
And eat well.
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am American.

After reading the poem once, he told his grandpa to play it again and he again recited
with Langston, then he put the tape over his mouth.

Lately, Jah Amiel doesn't accompany his grandpa downtown to his Academy of Da
Corner. The people ask grandpa where's Jah Amiel? But his mother put him
in Montessori school. She told her dad Jah Amiel could come to his
school on the weekends.

After he went to school, his grandpa asked him what he learned?

How to play in the sand box.
That's all?
Grandpa thought about it. He figured this might be an important lesson, since many people never learn how to play in the sand
box without throwing sand in other people's face and eyes throughout
their life.

What did you do today at school, Jah Amiel?
I been working at school and I'm tired.
What kind of work did you do?
I worked. I'm tired.
Well, you better go home to yo mama.
Ok. See you later alligator!
His grandpa replied, after while, crocodile!
--Marvin X

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Comment by Marvin X on April 21, 2010 at 11:25am
What if we had read Langston Hughes at three? But the truth is we used to go to the West Oakland Library at Peralta and Seventh, on class field trips. But I don't remember any black literature, only the little black librarian with the wig and sitting in those little chairs while she told us stories I can't remember the subject. For sure, they didn't make any impression on me that I remember.

Comment by Marvin X on April 21, 2010 at 11:12am
Why is a most philosophical question. The retardation of adults begins when they stop asking why, even of themselves. Bring King Jamir on.

Comment by WordSlanger on April 21, 2010 at 11:08am
I must bring King Jamir to play with Jah Amiel I wonder what wonderful things they will discuss? Two such great minds in such small bodies, too young to realize they are not old enough to contemplate the weighty issues they approach with hungry minds and sentences that begin mostly with, Why?

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