Opening Statement…

By Derrick Brooms

not a rappers delight

just trying to get my line tight

sharpening my forethought

meditating to get my mind right

willing to fast for freedom

brothers sitting on time

and I’m wishing my writing could free them

wishing the lighting could see them/ more

hoping my thoughts become before

we be claiming sets but

there be no return through that door

prelude the beginning

suffering mass incarcerations

but some claiming we winning

writing for half glasses

writing for love of the masses

we be scribbling freedom on pages

but can’t pass classes

still divorcing self of who I used to be

feeling the sun, letting the energy breed new to me

trying to have my heaven here on earth

repeating names of ancestors

cause this concrete hurt

banging on buckets

we still on the run

we still breaking north

like it was written in the drums

poetry for penitentiaries

suffering of centuries

they Trayonning our kids

we need sojourner truth ministries

the breakaways ain’t to baskets

we on riverbanks and in attics

writing theses that read like illmatic

my sketches still be post-traumatic

About The Author

Derrick Brooms
Derrick R. Brooms is on the faculty in sociology at the University of Louisville, Early Career Scholar in the Scholars Network on Black Masculinity, and serves as a youth worker as well. He specializes in the sociology of African Americans, particularly Black males, with research and activism that focus on educational equity, race and racism, diversity and inequality, and identity. He is author of the forthcoming book, Being Black, Being Male on Campus: Understanding and Confronting Black Male Collegiate Experiences (SUNY Press, 2017). Additionally, his work has been published in a range of journals, such as the Journal of African American Studies, Urban Education, and Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men. He earned his BA in African and African American Studies at the University of Chicago and a doctorate in sociology at Loyola University Chicago.


Re-Imagining Education

Empowering educators to take a deeper look at the stories told in our schools and to re-imagine them in transformative and
nurturing learning spaces.

learn more

Learning Opportunities

Classes, workshops, and lectures that help to empower people to re-imagine who they are and their place in the world.

learn more


Books written by
Re-imagining authors

learn more


The Chicago Wisdom Project offers a alternative to the industrial and corporate models of education that have become increasingly prevalent in the American educational landscape.

learn more