African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

Georgia Douglas Johnson, "A Sonnet: to the Mantled" (1917/1922)

And they shall rise and cast their mantles by,
Erect and strong and visioned, in the day
That rings the knell of Curfew o'er the sway
Of prejudice — who reels with mortal cry
To lift no more her leprous, blinded eye.
Reft of the fetters, far more cursed than they
Which held dominion o'er human clay.
The spirit soars aloft where rainbows lie.

Like joyful exiles swift returning home —
The rhythmic chanson of their eager feet.
While voices strange to ecstasy, long dumb.
Break forth in major rhapsodies, full sweet.
Into the very star-shine, lo! they come
Wearing the bays of victory complete! 

This poem was originally published in The Crisis in May 1917. 
Also appears in Bronze (1922)

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