Entrée to Black Paris Blog

Harlem about 1934

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Harlem about 1934

by Sekai Abeni

In this piece, I am exploring the community that seemed to influence much of Augusta Savage’s* work.

In her time, being a black woman and a creator did not make for easy life, either in day-to-day interactions with community and country or in the art world.

However, the creating itself seemed to be a safe haven for Savage, a true joy…

Harlem about 1934

how you stand alone
mirror next to window
curtains blowing
early morning breeze
wraps its way into the room

hardwood floors creak
the sound of the first child
on the street rocks the window frame

it will be hot today
the sun tempts disaster
fire hydrants will burst
and little black children
will ruin their hair

mothers will scream
the Lord will howl
and you will smile today

if there is such thing as being content
you have found it
on this block
on this morning
there is nothing like
the morning after

a dream
when you’ve seen
your next creation
remembered it

this is the holy ghost
your father preached
this is your church

dance happy
you will sleep through the night

*Savage studied sculpting in Paris from 1929-1931.

Screenshot from video entitled Augusta Savage, African-American Sculptor
Screenshot from video entitled
"Augusta Savage: African-American Sculptor (1892-1962)"