Ms. Lucille Clifton

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, February 15, 2010

My heart is somewhat sadden to learn of the passing of Ms. Lucille Clifton. The early 70's was an exciting period of time in Baltimore history. Fresh from the riots and its devastation, many of us where attending local colleges and universities. The dialogue on the street was fresh, introspective, and radical. There was room for the intellectual, as well as the those who were spontaneous. In the mix were the poets and writers who challenged us to dream literary dreams: Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Eric Jerome Dickey, Haki R. Mathubati, Malcolm X, Dick Gregory, Gil Scott-Heron, and in the mix was Ms. Lucille Clifton.


She enriched the educational experience of all those who ventured onto the campus of Coppin State College(later University). Her elegant figure, distinguish looks, and distinctive linguistic style captured the imaginations of fertile young minds seeking to escape the trap of ignorance and supposed lack of culture and class. We reasoned that by training our minds and energizing our spirit; we would transcend the urban ghettos where we lived and become citizens of the world.

Ms. Clifton was a literary genius in our midst who ignited the creative spark in many of our minds and spirits. She was successful at the craft of writing and walked among us. She was available for consul and critique of your writing. She was one of the first poets I had encountered who used her craft as her means of economic empowerment.

I honor her during Black History Month 2010 and lament her passing.

May she rest in peace as she now walks with the angels!

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