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

Carrie Law Morgan Figgs, "The Negro Has Played His Part" (1920)


When the days were cold and dreary, 
  And America's future was looking dark, 
Her black son marched forth with his gun, 
  And boldly played his part. 

He crossed the mighty ocean, 
  He feared neither gas nor poisoned dart, 
He wrote his name on the scroll of fame, 
  And like other men played his part. 

In every war that this country's been 
  Blood dripped from the Negro's loyal heart. 
At Bunker Hill, Ocean Pond, San Juan and Carrizal 
  He certainly played his part. 

Not only is he a fighter, 
  He has a place in poetry, music and art, 
Dunbar, Johnson and Tanner have proven 
  That the Negro has played his part. 

Then he yearned for education 
  Of hand and head and heart, 
Mary Bethune and Booker Washington tell us 
  That in literature he plays his part. 

Today finds him progressive, 
  No more content with that ox cart, 
He motors his ear to his store or hazk 
  And in commerce plays his part. 

America, dear America, 
  Mother of all Americans thou art, 
You need not grieve, your black boy won't leave, 
  He's going to stay and continue to do his part. 

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