Charles Frederick White

Meditations Of A Negro's Mind, I

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Had I a land that I might call my home,
I would be glad;
But I'm compelled this cruel world to roam
With feeling sad,
Because the Lord, in his wise way, preferred
To make me black;
Therefore the lighter races of this earth
Would keep me back.
Methinks, sometimes, it is a hard, rough lot
The Negro has to bear, willing or not:
He's scorned and driv'n about from door to door
Without an open ear to his implore;
Without a heart's being touched by his sad plight;
Without a hand to help his way to fight,
Save that of God, who doth all things aright.
Two hundred eighty years have past and gone
Since first he trod upon this unkind land:
Two hundred eighty years of basest wrong
Pollute this nation's history, to stand
As long as this creation shall extend,
Though not recorded by historian's pen.
The boasted pride sung by this populace,
The liberty and freedom talked upon
Are not enjoyed by this darker race,
Although these do by right to it belong.
A flag which doth enshroud beneath its fold
Such deeds of crime unwritten and untold,
Save by the hand and tongue of the oppressed,
Or by a friend, — of whom we few possess,—
Is not a flag of freedom, nor for right,
However long it wave, or to what height.
Yet, such a flag does now wave o'er our head,
Intent our names to hide of martyred dead;
But no; the Negro's tongue shall not be hushed,
Nor his protesting feeling e'er be crushed,
Until the hand of dastard crime is stayed
And bound by freedom's laws, by free men made.

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