The awesome technological power of the Internet search engine has once again shown that Desirée A. Barnwell and her poem “Will the Real Black People Please Stand” is, as of this writing, nowhere to be found online. And, of course, this poem appears here in the kinté space not to correct an “innocent oversight” but to respect what is disrespected on a daily basis under this New World Imperial order.

Again, this is our fifth selection from Orde Coombs, his book, We Speak as Liberators: Young Black Poets—An Anthology, after “Herschell Johnson: We Are Not Mantan.” Ms. Barnwell’s poem from 1970 is recorded here to prevent another, young, self-described “Black” poet in 2007 from writing a similar thing in ignorance of what came before him. Although the pop cultural influences of these times—backed by billions of U.S. dollars, ruled by small cartel of corporations and countless minions—may strongly suggest that there will be no more young, self-described “Black” poets to educate in this manner, we persist here in the kinté space. To use the words of Ms. Barnwell, we are “undaunted by the white man’s statistics” and we are “attentive to meaningful expression.”

In 1970, Desirée A. Barnwell was one Mrs. Lawrence S. Cumberbatch. Born in Guyana, South America she lived in worked in the metropolitan New York area. She took a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Queens College. You are warned new Black poets: “Will the Real Black People Please Stand” was her first published work.


Written by . . . . . . . Desirée A. Barnwell
Archival Research by . . . . . . . Tasha Dionne Thomas
XHTML/CSS Programming by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite