Last Sunday evening -- instead of watching Super Bowl LI -- in a crowded theater in downtown Silver Spring I watched the recently-released documentary "I Am Not Your Negro," narrated using words of writer James Baldwin (1924-1986). Baldwin was a contrarian, he avoided or contradicted labels and categories.
One of my favorite quotes -- that I see as intimately related to discovery in mathematics (from Hungarian-American Nobelist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986)) -- applies also to Baldwin:
Discovery is seeing
what everybody else has seen, and thinking
what nobody else has thought.
And here, from Jimmy's Blues & Other Poems (Beacon Press, 2014) is Baldwin's little poem "Imagination" which captures the same sort of mind-play that occurs with mathematics.
Imagination by James Baldwin
creates the situation
and, then, the situation
It may, of course,
be the other way around:
Columbus was discovered
by what he found.
February is Black History Month and, although James Baldwin would resist the application of a label -- black or African or smart or silly or whatever -- let me offer this link that gives the result of a search of this blog for some poems using the terms "black" and "history." (Or, better yet, use the SEARCH box with your own chosen terms.)