Countee Cullen was believed to have been born on this day in 1903 (although, some historians say he was born on March 30, 1903). Some accounts list Cullen’s birthplace as Baltimore, while others list it as Harlem, New York.
In any event, one can assume, from Cullen’s writings, that he had an intimate understanding of Baltimore…
So, in honor of the birthday of the great poet, Countee Cullen, I ask that you read what he had to say in his poem, “Incident.”
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, ‘Nigger.’
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.
by Countee Cullen