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

Arthur Tunnell, "On Segregation" (1914)

(Inspired by the Washington protest meeting)

Strong spirits must awaken! for the time,
Unhealthy with a bitter sick unrest
That ne'er relaxes in our fevered breast,
Bids that we, Godlike, rise above the crime
That sullies the still beauty of our time,
That makes a noble state seem still unblest,
Because her weaker brothers find no rest,
But wearied, labor in a cause sublime.
Come forth! ye deep-voices star-souled men,
And o'er the sounding land raise high your song,
Sing o'er and o'er the truth you love again,
To tame the terror of this fearful wrong,
Teach deep inwrought the power of love through all,
That without which earth's glories all must fall. 

First published in The Crisis, March 1914

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