The Parkland History Project has partnered with some young Louisville historians. Fifth graders at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School created totem poles and wrote poems engaging the topic of the 1968 Parkland Uprising. Each student group chose a community member or activist interviewed by the Parkland History Project oral history collection and constructed a totem dedicated to their life, activism, and community efforts. The corresponding poems shed light on the many struggles, hopes, and dreams each activist faced and still faces in their pursuit of social equality.
Pictured here is the community celebration of the students’ efforts in commemorating the May 1968 Parkland Uprising, when the students recited their poems to the crowd and describing their individual totems. We have reprinted selected poems here:
All I want is for somebody to have a better life.
All I want is for somebody to have equal rights.
All I want is for somebody to learn about Black American History.
All I want is for somebody to tell truths.
Cheri Bryant Hamilton
These are the symbols of Cheri Bryant Hamilton.
The heart- learning from the past.
The infinity symbol- living on forever.
The peace sign- peace and tranquility.
For Cheri Bryant Hamilton
The NOT Happy Birthday by Jack Fritz
Cupcake in a chair
The leaves of sanity
Sadness, no time for
Celebration, as we’re at the core
NOT happy birthday.
The Future of Parkland
By Nikayla Thomas
Rebuilt Shine Fun
Revived Cared for Special
The bright future
The future of Parkland
By Jeremy Metcalf
When you think about Parkland, what comes to your mind?
Killing, violence , seems like the sun wont’ shine.
The people that abandoned it, gave up on her.
Really don’t know that her legacy is far from over.
By Jeremy Metcalf
Torn up Torn down
Given up on
Careless, Not yet forgotten
Future Bright Beautiful
Cared FOR remembered
By Austin James
Really not cared
Starting to be cared
Finally cared for
By Madison Glover
Houses Jobs Cars
Happy Filled Shopping Family
Peaceful Loving Dedication
Big messy terrified
Destroyed swirly madness sadness
Torn the hearts
My poem is about a cop car
Because when someone threw a soda can
In the yard , the cop car : reaction
That cop car – what I wanted is my message: let the “protect” begin.
Educational hero leader
Smart fast trustworthy kind
Pride confident kindhearted
Helpful Powerful Respectful
Kindful Braveful Cheerful
Honest Changer Believer
Trustworthy Peaceful Faithful Smart
Patient Pastor Future
Civil rights Changes for Poor Financial Power
Helper Leader Broke Rich Famous Industrious
Greatman Famous Truthful
When people fight
They say STOP. We are not bad.
We are the same as everyone else.
People have feelings and don’t judge.
Don’t judge no one for their actions.
We have feelings.
In memory of James and Mathias
All I want is somebody to stop disrespecting blacks.
All I want is for somebody to stop shooting blacks.
All I want is for somebody to stop the death days of black people.
Hope strong black
Shot killed we say
James Groves and Mathias Washington
Roses are red
Violets are blue
We say love and Rest in Peace
to James Groves and Mathias
James Groves and Mathias Browder
Lying, Stealing NOTHING
Shot, died, love, sad
Scared, shot, worried he
Stole , Gun
-Photographic credit and rights belong to Dr. Lara Kelland