The poem, “Today”, was written by the legendary African American actress, playwright, poet and political activist, Beah Richards, who had an influential role in the fight for Civil Rights, working with the likes of Paul Robeson, W.E. B. DuBois and Louise Patterson. Beah was born in 1920 and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi by her parents, Wesley Richardson, a Baptist minister and Beulah Richardson, a seamstress, and descendants from the African continent. Beah was a graduate of Dillard University and a poet, writing numerous poems, two of which are well known, “A Black Woman Speaks”, published in 1951 and later “Today”, a compassionate and powerful piece in a collection of her works.
The poem “Today” exemplifies Beah’s life and purpose: to be present, hopeful, faithful, compassionate, loving, fearless, determined and to always keep moving forward. Her poem has been shown to be timeless, as relevant “Today” as when she first penned the words to paper in the 1950’s.
Watch as Lynn Whitfield, an African American actress, gives a powerful and moving recitation of “Today” by Beah Richards (b.1920-d.2000).