Letter to Luther: On the civil plight of the Black body

By: Alfred Nwankwo ~Online Editor~

Dear King,

You left this world too soon. You left this life of long suffering too early, never mind that looming, inevitable transience one must answer to. You were in the midst of that burning furnace for freedom and equality. You stood firm in defiance, and your body was taken, your blood spilled. Your body was taken my brotha, my King, but your voice is still here with me. Your body was taken like the bodies of Tamir Rice and Eric Garner. Your body was cornered into the hardwood of Spalding, bouncing balls. Your body was sacked in helmeted clashes into the dashed, green yardage. Your body was caged inside those dungeons.

Your body was hunched, contorted and whipped, so that the pillars could stand. My brotha, my King, I wish to cry out to you, in the covert vernacular that the Black body was nailed in the foundational pillars without any thoughts that the institution too is vulnerable and will be knelled in an imperiled, ominous crumble and collapse if harsh truths remain concealed from the American consciousness.

1My brotha, my King, you left too soon, but your freedom voice is always here with me. You risked everything. You left everything on the floor, on the land that flogged so much vitriol and animosity upon you. Your effort and sacrifice show a transatlantic memory passage that rekindled the brutal grief of dehumanization.

My brotha, my King, the first fight was that of your humanity. You were dragged against your will like an object in chains. Your body, your humanity was battered and trampled upon while the world watched in silence. The world looked on and condoned the utterly reprehensible. My brotha, my King, you soldiered on through your resilient pulse, sauntering in and refusing to succumb. I dare to say that your humanness is indestructible.

My brotha, my King, the trail of the Black plight continued in the underground rails for freedom. Your body was coerced into involuntary servitude before your strides in the 20th century. Our sista and Mama, Harriet Tubman, endeavored in her clandestine accompaniment with you for escape and to free your body from bondage. Blessings be upon this sista who is endowed with indefatigable courage. The struggle for owning our corporeal essence, our bodies, remained a struggle. You marched in the mid-20th century on concerns about civil disparity. You spoke eloquently and fearlessly, which eventually culminated in the taking of your body. Now that your body has been taken, and the fact that innumerable numbers of my Black, corporeal extension continue to be taken, I am depleted every moment – deeply imbued with critical consciousness about the fate of my own body in this space.

Alfred Nwankwo is a senior English major and the Online Editor for the Newswire from Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

At this particular moment in time, I have been experiencing a variety of emotions. All of which point to the recognition that the civil plight of the Black body is at a critical stage for survival. My brotha, my King, the caption read, “Who needs white when black lives matter.” Compounding to this incendiary whip was a playful lynching of my body into a shattered skeleton wearing a Dashiki in the same central building that pronounced imprimatur the central value: “All for One and One for All.” The endless contradictions leave me befuddled, thus making me wonder if the propagators of the central slogan and the disciples of this creed acknowledge and realize that the Black body is endangered every day and in every way. On the contrary, the denial about your corporeal reality manifestly expresses itself when your body is scampering through in the Cintas cathedral of entertainment and delirium. Jesuit values of reflection and discernment have stood to chiefly mean deep engagement with everything else other than the long suffering and imminent perils of the Black body. My brotha, my King, this reality about the Black body has left me with a fight for my life – a critical consciousness that I must live with until the day I drop dead…

In Breath, Body and Blood,




2 thoughts on “Letter to Luther: On the civil plight of the Black body

  1. This was beautiful, I’m turning in the article for my senior ethics course in Raleigh, NC (U.S.)

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