Words Like Freedom

There are words like Freedom

Sweet and wonderful to say.

On my heartstrings freedom sings

All day everyday.


There are words like Liberty

That almost make me cry.

If you had known what I know

You would know why.

— Langston Hughes


This poem originally appeared under the title “Refugee in America” in the Saturday Evening Post. It often goes by the name “Words Like Freedom.” It also appears on a sidewalk plaque on an E. 41st St. promenade, between Park and 5th, leading up to New York Public Library. I used it as the epigraph to chapter 7 of my first book Fear: The History of a Political Idea.

One Comment

  1. charles sereno January 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm | #

    I aspire to be a “pip” in search of a “gladys.” Nice memory.

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