Etheridge Knight Poems

Etheridge Knight was an American poet born in 1931. His early life was marked by his military career and later incarceration for robbery. He began writing poetry in prison and is remembered as one of the most important African American poets of his day. 

The Idea of Ancestry

by Etheridge Knight

‘The Idea of Ancestry’ by Etheridge Knight is concerned with family relationships and how important being with those you’re related to is. 

This is certainly one of the poet's best poems and is highly related to his life.

Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black

faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-

fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,

cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare

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