—after Maya Angelou’s “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me”
My black hat is really cool
because it came from my great-great grandpa.
He was a slave.
He was beaten, yelled at, even slapped.
When he cried, he would get extra work.
He had scabs, bruises, and he was red.
One day, he ran away.
When he ran away, he found a hat, a black hat.
When he was twenty, he met a girl and had two children.
He gave his older daughter the hat.
When I was ten, I got the hat, and when I put it on
I felt like the runaway slave boy
who lived happily ever after.
When I get bullied, I just remember what my
great-great grandpa did and walk away.
Because life does not scare me.
Jasmine, fifth grade, Baty Elementary School