I Am Black Chicago by The Original Harold Lee Rush

13 03 2014

I am Black Chicago
Born on the southside
Flavored with the west-side
Footprints on the north side
A Provident baby
Delivered by dr steptoe
Went to school in a willis wagon
And 6 or 7 grammer schools
From shoop to burnside to lewis-champlain
Hung out at the YMCA
Learned to shoot pool at the BBF
Got fifty-leven cousins all over Chi-town
Some of them were the true OGBs
(original gang-bangers, back in the day)
growing up Black in Chicago
I know what it meant
To get out of cicero before dark
To get off the L downtown
And have the po-leece jack you up
I remember when we couldnt go to
Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott or Sears & Roebuck
I laughed my troubles away at Riverview
(way before Go Cart Land & Fun Town)
listened to the poets and drummers
as they Pointed to the Afro-Arts
before there was Earth, Wind and Fire
there was Artistic Heritage Ensemble
when Amazon and Hiddekel were learning how to braid
when Darlene Blackburn was just starting to dance
when OBASI came on the scene
when the Bud Billiken Parade was Black folks
(and mickey mouse wouldnt be caught dead in washington park)
and blue lights in the basement quarter parties
is where I first learned how to grind
and got fonky with James Browns cold sweat
drinking white port and kool-aid
smokin reefer and doo-whoppin under the viaduct
going to Lems for some tips at 2AM
and throwing up at 4
being gouster or ivy league
working at 63rd and halsted
sneaking in the show
puttin balloons on the spokes of our bikes
and riding up and down the ramps
of the dan ryan before it opened
seeing the 5 Stairsteps beat the Jackson 5
at the Regal Theatre talent shows
ditching classes by hiding out in the oldest parts
of the castle of Englewood

I am Black Chicago
Where Soul Train started
Where Chaka Kanye West come from
Where Quincy Jones sat at the feet of the elders
In Bronzevilles international music colleges
Where you can jet to ebony to defend her
Who walks around all day with nothing on but
the voice of the negro/nation
Gwen Brooks sprang from the breast of us
Harold Washington spoke to the best in us
the policy kings organized the rest of us
and the mobs have truly tested us
tried to turn our heroes into dust to dust
stole our history-left us pixie dust
but they never really busted us
where we used to own the vote
where we used to hold the note
where we used to sail our boat
where we put fur to coat
I am Black Chicago
Africa was my mother
DuSable was my father
I have family all over america
And you may even be kin to me
This is where Charlie chewed
Where Nat Cole kinged
Where Joe Louis scronched
Where Lena horned and Billie holidaid
Where Ernie banked
Where Oscar browned
Where Jerry butlered
Where the Duke was earled
Where Yvonne danieled
And the Chi-Lites seen her
Where engle wooded
Where princeton parked
Where chester fielded
Where rose landed
Where cottage groved
Where altgeld gardened
Where spooks sit by the door
And Pervis dont want to talk to no mens
I am Black Chicago
From the lakefront all the way to ford city
From heavenston down to cal city
From maywood to blue island
Thats me in gary and over in k-town
This is where freedom rang
When Mahalia sang
Where GoodFellows clubbed
And schoolteachers subbed
Where thousands have passed thru the cook county jail
And the almighty hawk’s told many a tale
Where Dr Margaret told us children we were Black
And carried a whole museum on her back
Im the projects and the Globetrotters
Im baptist and catholic and sanctified
And the Nation of Islam
I am the center of Chicago
And the soul of your life
I am Black Chicago

Harold Lee Rush–©2006