Today, as an ice breaker to Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies, we did Beverly Daniel Tatum‘s “I am From” poem activity. Tatum, President of Spelman University, wrote the book Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria. I learned about this activity when I attended the POD Conference in 2002 with Dr. Saundra McGuire.

I don’t remember the specifics of the activity, but I generally do it like this:

1. Write “I am from” and list the sights, sounds, and smells of your home.

2. Write “I am from” and list your family foods.

3. Write “I am from” and list sayings you heard growing up.

4. Write “I am from” and list your heroes, mentors, people who influenced you in your life.

Here is my I am From poem:

I am from…
…cars honking in the streets, traffic jams, the smell of city grime, laughter on the front stoop.

I am from…
…vinegar pie, turkey and dressing, chicken and dumplings, steak and potatoes.

I am from…
…”Daddy, read to me.” “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” “Don’t talk back to me!”

I am from…
…My mother and father, Grandma Ann and Grandma Lola, my Auntie, my brother, my sister.

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