U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Mr. Kjetil Ree., CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

“Supreme” has been used to describe many 
things. Most of them are divine. Oh, the divine 
John Coltrane, whose A Love Supreme was 

the ultimate example of gentle jazz syncopation. 
Later, The Supremes: A perfect name for three 
divine Black women who broke the sound 

barrier for Motown, singing protest songs 
with a smile. “Supreme” meant excellence. 
Abundance in its highest form. But now, when 

my daughter hears that word, it is a form of 
fear and control. White supremacy and The 
Supreme Court. How did the word lose its 

integrity? Will other words, like “trust,” “love” 
and “freedom” be overturned? I want her to 
know that freedom of choice is not out of 

context in the land of the “free.” I demand that 
her life be a part of its history. I need her to 
trust the definition of words like I trust Diana 

Ross to sing the truth. I want my daughter to 
know that she is supreme. And divine. I want 
to protect her from things that feed on manipulation 

and domination. I am a powerless parent in a 
broken political system. But I still want my daughter
to know the word “revolution” before it, too, is 

taken away.

Marcus Amaker is the poet laureate of Charleston and a fellow with the Academy of American Poets.


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