Rebel Cry (In Honor of the Moral Monday Movement)

Kat and I were blessed to join in the Moral Monday demonstrations today. I wanted to share a post I did last year in honor of it.

One blessing that was mentioned by many speakers is the effect the Moral Monday movement is having now: public sentiment is turning as people are becoming aware of how policies truly stand in the way of their best interest.  I think the words of this poem’s promise are even more true now.

Rebel Cry

Moral Monday 12013-07-01 18.20.20

I was recently meditating on the historic struggle progressives in my state of North Carolina have been in, with the moral Monday demonstrations speaking out against systemic racism, neglect of the poor, of our children, and many other concerns.  It got me thinking about some of the other struggles we have gone through — the fight for equal rights for all we had in combating Amendment One (a battle that we lost), the fight many in our community who were spouses of soldiers in same-gender relationships had with the fall out of DOMA (a fight we have won, in part).  I thought of fights we have seen progressive on — the sit-ins to fight racial segregation in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

This got me thinking of my experience of what it meant to be a southerner growing up in a conservative home, and now how I view my role as a progressive North Carolinian.   These thoughts birthed this poem, an ode not just to our Moral Monday patriots but also all fighting to help our state live up to its own best values.

And I’m not just whistling Dixie here!

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah Royal

micah pic


Rebel Cry

barns Honeysuckle_2

“The south will rise again”

whispered in winds thick with smells

of honey suckle and jasmine

joining barns, creeks, church bells,

and watermelons

casting a kind of spell

shaping the landscape in

my childhood mind when hells

like slavery, Jim Crow,

and poverty weren’t known.


I heard “the south will rise”

as a promise of grits,

cornbread, tea, pecan pies,

at tables all can sit

affirming our shared ties,

a re-union as fit

as a sight for sore eyes.

Then, at twelve, I was hit

by news of a black man shot

in the name of the rising south.

hate crime Trayvon Martin

That south which filled my sights

was falling, not rising, then:

falling into hate and fright

based on folk’s shade of skin,

if who they love was deemed “right”,

forgetting that the true sin

is not those whom we fight

but in not letting them in.

With waving flags, guns ablaze,

we plunged b’neath where we can raise.

martin luther kingsit-in-greensboro-record

My heart sank til I heard

a Georgia preacher’s dream:

children unencumbered

by hate of color or creed,

from whom a new south is born.

Now I know that south’s rising,

rising beyond fear and scorn

of those different, with wings

of a new morning for all

without more dividing walls.

Yes, the south will rise,

will rise again

rise with justice

rise with equality

rise with shadows of hate forgotten.

carolina sunriseDiversity 1


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