An Encounter with History’s Doppelgangers

I first met them as a vision
of a man, visionary in his passion.
A passion for the music of mankind,
all of mankind, not just of Europeans.

In the forests and hills of Kenya
they who were slandered by history
a history written by their oppressors,
and thus believed by their brothers.

Sending me on a quest for the truth
I found them, despite their stolen legacy,
the Mau Mau, fighters for freedom and dignity
tarred as butchers and savages by the British.

This ethnomusicologist taught me the music of truth,
proud I had helped to resurrect it for forgotten Africans.
Truth that exposed the true butchers and savages
the bloodied hands of colonial counterinsurgency.

Then years later I met the Mau Mau again,
in the cells and yard of the Essex County Jail
these a different sort, a Newark Street gang
taking the name because of the historical lie.

Not knowing anything of Freedom and Dignity
not knowing of history or truth or their struggle.
Mau Mau’s because they were the most brutal
a name for bad ass beheaders of any and all rivals.

This strange doppelganger of history
proof of the power to write the stories of the past,
30 years later one more group of the oppressed
still worshipping the lies of the oppressor.

F. Henderson's poetry is drawn from a lifetime on the streets seeking to create the pathways for the oppressed to find their humanity. The struggles, the insights, the hard lessons learned. Anti-social in a world that is anti-human. He has had numerous articles published on American History and the Law and has now added poetry to his arsenal of weapons against this anti-human society we reside in. Read other articles by F..