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

Carrie Williams Clifford, "A Reply to Thomas Dixon" (1911)

We are rising, we are coming!
   See, the foeman's face grows pale;
He to check our progress onward
   Spreads abroad this scandalous tale

"Black men are not white men's equal
   All unworthy's the black race;
Savage, soulless, scarcely human.
   Doomed forever to servile place."

Shall such foul aspersions daunt us.
   Will we weaken in our fight?
Never! Fighting, we will die for
   Justice, God and human right.

We hurl back the defamation.
   Confound theory with fact.
Prove by thought, by word, by deed.
   The falseness of the vile attack.

There is earnest work before us,
   There are giants to o'ercome.
Satan's angels to be vanquished.
   Grievous wrong to be undone.

So we press undaunted forward.
   So we plunge into the fray.
Rouse the timid lagging rearward.
   Point them to the breaking day!

Will success perch on our banner.
   Which we struggle to hold high?
From the valiant hosts who follow
   Comes a ringing, firm, "Ay, ay !"

Published in Race Rhymes, 1911

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