OLHMS Student Honored by the State for Poem

Last year, when a student of Mrs. McCarthy wrote a poem about Fredrick Douglas she knew it would be a perfect candidate for the 2018 Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards (GBYPA) competition and encouraged the 7th grader to enter.

Alexis entered the competition with her poem “Lowlife” about the trials of Douglas’ life. The poem was recognized as an honorable mention out of 225 poems submitted throughout the state.

“Lowlife” is one of the better poems I have written, and I am so proud of it. It shows that dark story that slaves had to go through for freedom and how important equality is for all humans.” said Alexis.

The now 8th-grade student at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School is an avid writer and was honored to be recognized by the state for her passion.

“It is so important to me to be known as a good writer, when I found out I made the list I was siked!,” she said.

The Youth Poetry Awards were named for Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American writer to receive a Pulitzer Prize, and she served as the Illinois Poet Laureate from 1968 to 2000.

Check out Alexis’ poem “Lowlife”

Low Life A Frederick Douglass Inspired Poem By: Alexis Dunaway Tuckahoe, Maryland; Born into life A baby slave boy; Livin Low Life Harriet Bailey; My dear mother Separated at birth; To not know each other Came in the night; “Oh how you’ve grown...” Run back to cabin; Again, alone Called by the bell; If not up To be punished by overseer; You must have luck Work in the fields; Dawn till dusk Judged by color; Feeling like dust Back and forth; Field to field No say from me; Keep moving, no yield “Listen to me; You black cow, You are inferior; I’ll tell you how” “God made you slaves; Not equal as us Don’t disobey; To be punished thus” Whipped and whipped; Scars upon scars There’s no way out; From these steel bars Unless a way;I only know Escape from here; Then I’ll go! Attempted escape; Failed to be free But another way; Soon I’ll see Take the boat; Up the river bend Meeting of the Abolitionists; I will attend Escape from slavery; A sight to see! Finally made it; Finally Free! I must seek help; For I have seen Slavery up close; It’s more than mean!  ̈Come one come all!; We have work to do! Slavery to be abolished!; You can help too! ̈ And just like that, they heard my words We will make the slaves free; As free as birds Day after Day; Abolitionists fought No stopping never; Freedom they sought Aftermath of the Civil War Northern States cheer with a mighty ROAR! Slavery was abolished; My work here is done For the songs of the slaves; The skies they Rung Low Life A Frederick Douglass Inspired Poem By: Alexis Dunaway Tuckahoe, Maryland; Born into life A baby slave boy; Livin Low Life Harriet Bailey; My dear mother Separated at birth; To not know each other Came in the night; “Oh how you’ve grown...” Run back to cabin; Again, alone Called by the bell; If not up To be punished by overseer; You must have luck Work in the fields; Dawn till dusk Judged by color; Feeling like dust Back and forth; Field to field No say from me; Keep moving, no yield “Listen to me; You black cow, You are inferior; I’ll tell you how” “God made you slaves; Not equal as us Don’t disobey; To be punished thus” Whipped and whipped; Scars upon scars There’s no way out; From these steel bars Unless a way;I only know Escape from here; Then I’ll go! Attempted escape; Failed to be free But another way; Soon I’ll see Take the boat; Up the river bend Meeting of the Abolitionists; I will attend Escape from slavery; A sight to see! Finally made it; Finally Free! I must seek help; For I have seen Slavery up close; It’s more than mean!  ̈Come one come all!; We have work to do! Slavery to be abolished!; You can help too! ̈ And just like that, they heard my words We will make the slaves free; As free as birds Day after Day; Abolitionists fought No stopping never; Freedom they sought Aftermath of the Civil War Northern States cheer with a mighty ROAR! Slavery was abolished; My work here is done For the songs of the slaves; The skies they Rung