13 Cokes and a Side of Freedom: for thirteen brave youngsters and their leader

13 Cokes and a Side of Freedom: for thirteen brave youngsters and their leader

A Poem by Tinasha LaRayé

Written 2 yrs ago for Mrs. Luper’s 50th yr anniv of the Katz sit-in she led in OKC with her NAACP youth council - yes, KIDS! Helped spark the Civil Rights movement. We walk on the backs of giants.


This is a celebration of faces

A celebration of uniting races

Changing the pace by putting truth in its rightful place

This is a leaving of cages

            …this is a coming of ages

This is as old as time and as fresh as the day’s paper,

This is a Marilyn vs. Calvin debate stir

The beginning of the beginning…

Walking and marching, standing for hours

Sitting and waiting for many more

Didn’t we have it easy?

To sit on our bottoms

            …at the bottom of the white man’s food chain

            …in the white man’s food domain

And can’t get a coke!

Didn’t we have it easy?

Doing it up LAVISH!

As we sat for hours

            Off our feet, thirteen baby warriors occupying these seats, glued.

Eyes glued and scowling at our hair

Eyes glued and firing daggers at our backs

Eyes glued and darting fire at our skin

Yes! We’re here for one of the first-ever sit-ins!

Sitting with pride by our side

With our strength, with our fear

With our teacher, our leader, our mother of Civil Rights, our friend…Mrs. Clara Luper by our side

With God surrounding us, sustaining us

And with the constitution knocking down Katz door!...

We sat in those chairs

And we sat some more

13 cokes please…

And we sat some more

And we did not move when the names came flying

Dummy and Monkey

            Ugly, Disgrace

                        Black Thing…            N****r!

We smiled

No! We did not move!

We did not move when the spit came flying

Rudely sliding down our necks

Heartlessly clinging to our clothes, in our hair

But shame nowhere in the air

And we wiped the mucus from our pride and smiled

For “we shall not, we shall not be moved, we shall not, we shall not be moved. Just like a                         tree that’s planted”….on this seat

We “store-sitters” shall NOT be moved

Until our thirst is quenched

Until our 5 dollar bill tightly clinched!

Until we clutch the cold, damp, welcoming bottle of recognition…

Until we hear the sharp air & sizzle from a broken seal, breaking segregation into pieces...

Until we come into contact with the “cold, crisp taste of coke” burning our lips, singeing the stains of discrimination…

Until we feel our rights as human beings running down our throats and filling our             bellies….

 Our thirst will not be quenched!

So Lieutenant, Go on and call the coroner,

Because some old ways are going to die today

And it may take 1963 assassinations

We just might have to endure 1968 Memphis Motel shootings

            ‘til we reach that promised land

But doggone it, I tell you, on this day…this hot and sunny 1958 day that the Lord has made…

We ain’t leavin’ til we get a coke!

We ain’t leavin’ til we get a coke!

We are not leaving until we get a little ol’ bottle of cocola.

5 dollar bill                                                                we’ve paid our dues

Beatings and lynchings                                        we’ve paid our dues

Still waiting for our forty acres and a mule                Oh, we’ve paid our dues…and then some!

So, if you would kindly go back to the Frigidaire

And get our respect

Our equality

Our freedom from this inhumane, outdated, overrated slave-chain mentality…

AND My Coke!

Please and thank you.



And you can keep

the Change.

© 2010 Tinasha LaRayé

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A little epic - but an excellent tribute - I really like this piece

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on June 21, 2010
Last Updated on June 21, 2010
Tags: sit-in, hate, discrimination, racism, civil rights, love, clara luper, mother, protest, coca cola, coke


Tinasha LaRayé
Tinasha LaRayé


I am because my mother birthed me my father planted me my God created me. Life has unfolded for me in 29 chapters so far with two brothers a smile and a few good memories to show for it. I am because .. more..