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

Clara Burrill Bruce, "We Who Are Dark" (1918)

We who are dark
And know the lash
On bodies worn,
Insensate made
Through years of wrong;
That feel no more
The scourge, the whip--
We who are dark
And know the hurt
Of pitiless scorn
On souls that live
And feel the dart
And thrust of wrong;
The greedy glance
Of sinful lust--
We who are dark
And know the urge
Of blinding rage
And fury red,
that eats and burns;
the ache of hands
Pressed on by hearts
On vengeance bent--
We've won your praise
That side by side
With those who taught
Us all our woes
We bravely march
Nor backward glance,
Not hesitant,
Nor slow, but with
Quickening treat
Old wrongs, old sores
Forgotten lie;
As we march forth
To Victory,
Bearing aloft
To foreign lands
A freedom sweet
That's not our own. 

Published in The Crisis, December 1918

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