February 12th 1963 I am born on a Tuesday at the University Hospital Columbus, Ohio USA-- a country caught between Black and White. I am born not long from the time or far from the place where my great, great grandparents worked the deep rich land unfree dawn till dusk unpaid drank cool water from scooped out gourds looked up and followed the sky's mirrored constellation to freedom. I am born as the south explodes, too many people too many years enslaved then emancipated but not free, the people who look like me keep fighting and marching and getting killed so that today-- February Twelfth Nineteen Sixty-three and every day from this moment on, brown children, like me, can grow up free. Can grow up learning and voting and walking and riding wherever we want. I am born in Ohio but the stories of South Carolina already run like rivers through my veins. Excerpted from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.