Dear Jesse: Babies R Somebody 2

Recently my good friend Walter H. Hoye, III wrote in his weekly column, Conflict of Interest an article entitled Personhood: I Am Somebody inspired by the poem written in the 1950s by Rev. William Holmes Borders, Sr. Hoye writes how a then pro-life Jesse Jackson recited his own version of the poem on Sesame Street. Jesse said in his poem that it doesn’t matter how small or what color you are, we are all “God’s Child”

I knew Rev. Borders and I’m sure he would agree that the babies are Somebody 2.

My Granddaddy King and Rev. Borders were contemporary pastors in Atlanta. Remember that Granddaddy King saved me from being aborted.

Here is the original poem by Rev. William Holmes Borders:

I am somebody–
I am a poet in Langston Hughes.
I am an author in Frank Yerby.
I am a creator of rhyme in Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
I am a Christian Statesman in J.R.E. Lee.
I am a diplomat in Ralph A Bunche.

I am somebody–
I am somebody. I am a soldier in Gen. B.O. Davis.
I am courage in Crispus Attucks and Dorie Miller.
I am a humorist in Eddie “Rochester” Anderson.
I am a television artist in Nat “King” Cole.
I am a concert singer in Leontine Price.
I am a renowned baritone in Robert McFerrin.
I am a great contralto in Marion Anderson.

I am somebody–
I am somebody. I am an athlete in Harrison Dillard and Ira Murchison.
I am a basketball star in Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
I am an intelligent pen in the hand of DuBois.
I am a college president in Mordecai Johnson.
I am a breaker of world records in Jesse Owens and Eddie Tolan.

I am somebody–
I am somebody. I am an orator in P. James Bryant and Howard Thurman.
I am a preacher in C.T. Walker and L.K. Williams.
I am a composer in Nathaniel Dett.
I am an actor in William Marshall, Frank Silvers, Sidney Portier, and James Edwards.
I am a boxer in Sugar Ray Robinson.
I am a knockout punch in Floyd Patterson.
I am a baseball player in Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron.
I am a home-run hitter in Larry Doby and Willie Mays.
I am a world famous pitcher in Don Newcombe and Satchel Paige.

I am somebody–
I am somebody. I am a scientist in George Washington Carver.
I am an industrial educator in Booker T. Washington.
I am a Congressman in William L. Dawson, Adam Clayton Powell, and Charles C. Diggs, Jr.
I am a skin specialist in Dr. Lawless, of Chicago, and teach what I know at Northwestern University.
I am a judge in Wade H. McCree and Elvin L. Davenport.
I am a music maker in Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
I am a pathologist in Julian Lewis and serve on the University of Chicago faculty.
I am the first successful operator on the human heart in Daniel Hale Williams.
I am an entertainer in Eartha Kitt and Harry Belafonte.

I am somebody–
I am an Assistant Secretary of Labor in J. Ernest Wilkins.
I am loyalty in the armed services.
I am insight in Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass.
I am an advocator of justice in Roy Wilkins and Thurgood Marshall.
I am a labor leader in A. Phillip Randolph.

I am somebody–
I am somebody. I am a molder of character in Nannie Burroughs.
I am a banker in R.R. Wright and L.D. Milton.
I am certified public accountant in Jesse Blayton and Richard Austin.
I am sculptor in Henry O. Tanner.
I am a businessman in Alonzo Herndon and Charles C.D Diggs, Sr.
I am a grand specimen of womanhood in Mary McLeod Bethune.
I am a publisher in John Sengstacke, Mrs. Robert L. Vann, and John H Johnson.

I am somebody–
I am somebody. I am an insurance executive in C.C. Spaulding.
I am a zoologist in Ernest E. Just.
I am a historian in Carter Woodson, J. Hope Franklin, and J.A. Rogers.
I am a lover of education in Charlotte Hawkins Brown.
I am a beautician in Madames Walker, Washington, and Malone.
I am a trustee in slavery. I protected my master’s wives and daughters while he fought to keep the chains of slavery about my body.

I am a bishop in W.A. Fountain and George Barber.
I am a ball of fire in Richard Allen.
I am a laborer in John Henry.
I am a true Christian, for indeed, I practiced the religion of Jesus at points better than my master from whom I learned it.
I am somebody.

Here is Jesse Jackson’s version:

“I am Somebody! I am Somebody!
I may be poor, But I am Somebody.
I may be young, But I am Somebody.
I may be on welfare, But I am Somebody.
I may be small, But I am Somebody.
I may have made mistakes, But I am Somebody.
My clothes are different, My face is different, My hair is different, But I am Somebody.
I am Black, Brown, or White. I speak a different language But I must be respected, protected, never rejected. I am God’s child!”

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