Paul Laurence Dunbar

wE wEAR tHE mASK

The Kipp DC Valor Academy Public Charter School is a predominantly african american school not too far from my Capitol Heights neighborhood I grew up in. So when my good old friend from Morgan State, Whitney McArthur asked me to come back this year for her class' Black History Month Presentation, I jumped at the opportunity. Also this year I wanted to do something more hands-on. Teaching the students how to use a Heat press machine and make their own T-shirts to keep and perform in. Reciting a famous black poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, "We Wear The Mask" which also seemed very fitting for a G.O.O.N.S. collaboration lol. Thank you to Kipp DC Schools for allowing me to come in and impact these kids lives. And Thank you again to Whitney for inviting me and providing the shirts. 

We Wear the Mask

BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR

We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

 

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

       We wear the mask.

 

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

To thee from tortured souls arise.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

       We wear the mask!