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Poems from NeXt readers that interpreted the inauguration of Barack Obama in light of the nation's past treatment of African-Americans are included here today in honor of Black History Month. Find more on the Buffalo News Web site at

We Were Once Kings

To a foreign land we go

Shackled and beaten with the rods of insanity

Made to work at a land that we do not know

For death had illumined the Land of Blacks

Don't they know we were once kings?

To a foreign land we go

Our cries pierce the night of our old royalty bestowing upon us once more

Made to cope into a world that our skin becomes dangerous.

As a rare Oriole sings the song of Mozambique

She reminds us yes we were once kings

To a foreign land we go

Pain and heartache forms the burdens of the natural mind

Sickness and death up rises as we trample this foreign land

Making a living in an unknown territory as the garbage of a racist mind

Don't you know, small ones, where your heritage comes from? You are descendants from kings.

To a foreign land we go

Has the world not seen our strength and splendor?

The power of our voice when we speak?

We rose up from the ashes

Obama hears the voice of the ancestors

Crying out from grave don't you know we were once kings?

Michaela Neil, 17, Niagara Falls High School


The House Is Black

The time is now

The time is there

Obama Face is everywhere

In this country

Change is near

O My God a Black man here

Excitement is in the air

When he speaks people listen

January is the month

We have waited for so long

My stomach is aching

But with anticipation

This man has come

To save this country

From recession

From War

When He speak all hand on mouths

January 20th I be watching on a couch

I live to see a black man in the white house

-- Richard Little, 18, Niagara Falls High School



Barack Obama

A minority president

of the majority

A new birth of freedom

will come on the day

YOU are inaugurated

As the president of U.S.A.

-- Rhiannon Slowik, 13, Orchard Park Middle

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