The Common Good
January-February 1996

Black Water: The Million Man Sea

by Otis Bakari Moss III | January-February 1996

I could swim in this sea, this sea of Black helix hair and fleecy locks, waves of caramel,honey,Blue Black,Red brown chocolate faces...

I could swim in this sea.

this sea of Black helix hair and fleecy locks.

waves of
Blue Black,
Red brown chocolate faces.

I could swim...baptize, resurrect, and renew...

The waves of pain, joy, sorrow, rejoice and regret

crashed upon the rocks of the


the sound of rushing water Black water so loud even
the Devil had to Jump back!

No lessons are needed for this body of water.


We swam all day and found lost family,
pieced together broken dreams,
and gathered together our discarded
and torn lives.

We put them together on the Altar of our Pain

offered them to God

And baptized them in Black water.

OTIS BAKARI MOSS III is a Ph.D. student in religion and social change at the University of Denver, where he is studying with Vincent Harding. He attended the Million Man March with 30 members of his home church, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.


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