Sarah. London. 21.
My original poetry, songs and writing feature on this blog,
and should not be used elsewhere without my permission. 2013 ©
“When we were on the beach we shopped at Carolina Beach. It had an amusement park, but of course Black people were not permitted to go in. Every time we passed it i looked at the merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel and the little cars and airplanes and my heart would just long to ride them. But my favorite forbidden ride had little boats in a pool of water, and every time i passed them i felt frustrated and deprived. Of course, persistent creature that i am, i always asked to be taken on the rides, knowing full well what the answer would be. One summer my mother and sister and i were walking down the boardwalk. My mother was spending part of her summer helping my grandparents in the business. As soon as we neared the rides, i went into my usual act. I continued, ad nauseum, until my mother, grinning, said. “All right now, I’m gonna try to get us in. When we get over there, I don’t want to hear one word out of either of you. Just let me do the talking. And if they ask you anything, don’t answer. Okay? Okay!” My mother went over to the ticket booth and began talking. I didn’t understand a word she was saying. The lady at the ticket window kept telling my mother that she couldn’t sell her any tickets. My mother kept talking, very fast, and waving her hands. The manager came over and told my mother she couldn’t buy any tickets and that we couldn’t go into the park. My mother kept talking and waving her hands and soon she was screaming this foreign language. I didn’t know if she was speaking a play language or a real one. Several other men came over. They talked to my mother. She continued. After the men went to one side and had a conference, they returned and told the ticket seller to give my mother the tickets. I couldn’t believe it. All at once we were laughing and giggling and riding the rides. All the white people were staring at us, but we didn’t care. We were busy having a ball. When i got into one of those little boats, my mother practically had to drag me out. I was in my glory. When we finished the rides we went to the Dairy Queen for ice cream. We sang and laughed all the way home. When we got home my mother explained that she had been speaking Spanish and had told the manager that she was from a Spanish country and that if he didn’t let us in she would call the embassy and the United Nations and i didn’t know who all else. We laughed and talked about it for days. But it was a lesson i never forgot. Anybody, no matter who they were, could come right off the boat and get more rights and respect than amerikan-born Blacks.”
— Assata Shakur. 1987. Assata: An Autobiography. Lawrence Hill Books: p. 27-28. (via so-treu)