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  • Writer's pictureThe Magnolia Literacy Project

Erica Barnes "Maybe"

Updated: May 24, 2022

Erica Barnes, a ninth grader at Lawrence County High School in Monticello, Mississippi, displays self-love and inner confidence while highlighting the pervasive effects of racism.


Maybe it’s the melanin in my skin

Or the texture of my hair

The fullness of my lips

Or the width of my nose

That makes them fear me.

Maybe it’s the pride in my walk

The way I release power and confidence when I talk

How my knowledge and appreciation of my culture grows with each passing day

Or the way I’ve come to accept and embrace who I am

That makes them sneer at me.

Maybe it’s the way I still rise and fight back

Despite historic physical and verbal attacks

That makes them quiver with fear

But then again, they’ll never look past the depth of my skin,

So maybe it’s just because I’m black.


The Magnolia Literacy Project’s

initiative to showcase the writing and art

of Mississippians.

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