Poems about Equality

Who in One Lifetime by Muriel Rukeyser

‘Who in One Lifetime’ by Muriel Rukeyser is a poem about resistance in the face of war and suffering. The speaker asserts that a woman referred to only as “she” is standing strong despite what she’s seen. 

Who in One Lifetime by Muriel Rukeyser Visual Representation

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

‘Howl’ is Allen Ginsberg’s best-known poem and is commonly considered his greatest work. It is an indictment of modern society and a celebration of anyone living outside it.

Howl by Allen Ginsberg Visual Representation

The Poet by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘The Poet’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar depicts how the poet saw himself and the elements of his work that gained popularity during his lifetime.

The Poet by Paul Laurence Dunbar Visual Representation

As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes

‘As I Grew Older’ by Langston Hughes is about breaking through the “wall” that racism constructs. The speaker, a Black man from the African American community, spends the poem discussing the light of forgotten dreams he’s newly determined to attain.

As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes Visual Representation

Two-Headed Calf by Laura Gilpin

‘Two-Headed Calf’ by Laura Gilpin is a moving poem that evokes the reader sympathy for a doomed two-headed calf. It alludes to the value of all life, no matter if it conforms to humanity’s opinion of what is right and wrong.

Two-Headed Calf by Laura Gilpin Visual Representation

Flower On the Road by Chitra Padmanabhan

‘Flower On the Road’ by Chitra Padmanabhan is a sweet and simple children’s poem that emphasizes everyone’s ability to bring joy to the world, no matter their size.

Flower On the Road by Chitra Padmanabhan Visual Representation

New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman

‘New Day’s Lyric’ by Amanda Gorman is poem written at the end of 2021 in order to usher in a more hopeful new year in 2022. The piece explores themes of hope and change. 

New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman Visual Representation

Animals Are Passing From Our Lives by Philip Levine

‘Animals Are Passing From Our Lives’ by Philip Levine is a thoughtful piece about the treatment of all living things. It was written in the mid-1960s during protests over the Vietnam War in the United States. 

Animals Are Passing From Our Lives by Philip Levine Visual Representation

A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay

‘A Small Needful Fact’ by Ross Gay is a powerful poem that presents an image of hope and beauty after a loss. The poem addresses the legacy of Eric Garner and how one might still find his presence in the world. 

A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay Visual Representation

Tableau by Countee Cullen

‘Tableau’ by Countee Cullen is a powerful poem about two men, one black and one white, who appear to be romantic partners. 

Tableau by Countee Cullen Visual Representation

Catch the Fire by Sonia Sanchez

‘Catch the Fire’ by Sonia Sanchez is a thoughtful and inspiring poem. In it, the poet encourages readers to catch their fire and use their passion to fuel their lives.

Catch the Fire by Sonia Sanchez Visual Representation

50-50 by Langston Hughes

’50-50’ by Langston Hughes contains a dialogue between a man and a woman. The woman is looking for a partner and the man is telling her, rudely, how to acquire him as one. 

50-50 by langston hughes

Daybreak in Alabama by Langston Hughes

Music is a powerful tool to bring harmony even in the cacophonic world, filled with inequality, injustice, and racial discrimination. In ‘Daybreak in Alabama,’ Langston Hughes tries to create a harmonious world by creating music of equality and brotherhood.

Daybreak in Alabama by Langston Hughes Visual Representation

Beware: Do Not Read This Poem by Ishmael Reed

‘Beware: Do Not Read This Poem’ by Ishmael Reed is a thoughtful poem about culture and how language is used to tell stories. The poem warns against becoming too consumed within one method of storytelling.

Beware- Do Not Read This Poem by Ishmael Reed

The Ballad of the Landlord by Langston Hughes

‘The Ballad of the Landlord’ is a poem that explores the relationship between a Black tenant and his white landlord. The latter refuses to fulfill his duties and the former ends up in jail.

The Ballad of the Landlord by Langston Hughes

I Dream a World by Langston Hughes

‘I Dream A World’ by Langston Hughes is a powerful, short poem that outlines the poet’s vision of a utopian world. There, no one is judged on the color of their skin and all people have access to the same freedoms.

From the Dark Tower by Countee Cullen

‘From the Dark Tower’ by Countee Cullen is a thoughtful poem about the Black experience. It suggests that there is a brighter future on the horizon.

The Rights of Women by Anna Lætitia Barbauld

‘The Rights of Women’ by Anna Lætitia Barbauld is a proto-feminist poem that intones the power that a woman might have if she resists social law and rises up to take control over the world.

Equality by Maya Angelou

‘Equality’ by Maya Angelou is an uplifting poem with a positive message. It speaks movingly about the possibilities of the future.

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