African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Alonzo Milton Skrine, "The Negro's Worth" (1900)

Who casts a slur on Negro worth, a stain on Negro fame?
Who dreads to own his Negro blood, or hear his Negro name?
Who scorns the warmth of Negro hearts [illegible] the clasp of Negro hands?
If he but shows his traitor's face, we [illegible] him where he stands.

The Negro's blood! Its crimson tide has watered hill and plain
Wherever there were wrongs to crush, or freemen's rights to gain.
No dastard thought, no cowardly fear his had it tamely by
When there were noble deeds to do [illegible] to die. 

The Negro's heart! The Negro's heart! God keeping pure and free
The fullness of its kindly thought its wealth of honest glee;
Its generous strength; its ardent faith; its uncomplaining trust;
Though every worshipped idol break and crumble into dust.

The Negro's hands! Ah, lift them up. made strong by honest toil.
The champion of the Civil War and of the Cuban soil:
Their battle swords they flash aloft, though death in front they see ;
The Negro's hands did valiant deeds tot brave Cuba free.

They bore the old flag bravely, and were there at Lincoln's call.
They stood beside the foremost rank, with the bravest of them all.
And when before the enemy's guns they held the Gray at bay —
O never could the Afric heart beat prouder than that day.

So if some proud Caucasian cavils at the darkness of your race,
Or speaks in scorn of Africa before her children's face,
Then lay aside the flag of truce, and denounce him where he stands 
For Negro's worth and Negro's fame were won by Negro's hands.

Published in Colored American Magazine, December 1900

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