The Tradition, poem by Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur
Date Published: 
December 31, 1987


The Tradition
Carry it on now. Carry it on.
Carry it on now. Carry it on.
Carry on the tradition.
There were Black people since the childhood of time who carried it on.
In Ghana and Mali and Timbuktu we carried it on.
Carried on the tradition.
We hid in the bush
when the slavemasters came holding spears.
And when the moment was ripe, leaped out and lanced the lifeblood of would-be masters.
We carried it on.
On slave ships,
hurling ourselves into oceans. Slitting the throats of our captors. We took their whips,
And their ships. .
Blood flowed in the Atlantic – and it wasn't all ours.
We carried it on.
Fed Missy arsenic apple pies. Stole the axes from the shed.
Went and chopped off master's head.
We ran. We fought.
We organized a railroad. An underground.
We carr