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

Carrie Williams Clifford (Carrie W. Clifford), "Appeal" (1928)

Three centuries beneath your haughty heel,
Humble and ignorant, debased and poor,
Like mendicants before your temple-door,
The potentates of earth have seen us kneel.
With guileless art we made our mute appeal,
And tho' you scorned and spurned us, tried the more
To love and serve you better than before.
Your children we have nursed, your daily meal
Set forth, your crops have reaped, your acres tilled,
Your burdens borne, your enemies have killed;
We've given of our brawn unstintingly,
And of our brain, when so you'd let it be.
Remembering all, how can you lynch and hate,
And with our quivering clay, your passion sate?

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