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The Constance Pulze Prize

George Pope

Freedom Hat: List

Freedom Hat

Why, Rosa, you're wearing your freedom hat,"
Exclaimed Miss Lavinia Ravenel
To the old woman who was wrestling
A bowl of her famous chicken salad
Between plates of celery sticks
And pitchers of sweet tea
In the bustling church kitchen
As the ladies auxiliary mobilized for
The annual Spring tea room.

"Yes ’um
It’s the hat my Great grandma
Wore back in ’64,
It’s been over ninety years now,
The day word finally reached
The little ole low country town
That Mr. Lincoln had set us free.
It’s the hat one of hers has worn on
This day ever since."

"Oh Rosa, my mama remembered
Your mammy wearing that hat
When she brought her chicken salad,"
Miss Lavinia gushed as she gently,
But firmly, took the frail woman's arm
And escorted her out the back door
Into the parking lot where
Rosa’s daughter was waiting
Wondering what she would do
When it came time for her
To wear the freedom hat.

Freedom Hat: Text
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