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

Claude McKay, "A Daughter of the American Revolution to Her Son" (1926)

I'm happy that you graduated high,
It stirs my pride to see what you could do
In these times, when our ways are all awry
And threatened by the vulgar parvenu.

Our noble name is linked with all the good
New England yielded from her sterling worth,
To make our country great and understood
Among the greater nations of the earth.

Our line is of a sturdy English breed,
That sought an alien land for human rights;
We always have insisted on the need
Of viewing life from our own lofty heights.

Only your great grandfather once went wrong,
Becoming radical in slavery days,
When party strife the country cleaved for long
And petty agitators strove for praise.
Remember to forget your great grand-father,
Sometimes you worry me with traits like his,
Shun sentimental liberals, but rather
Uphold the law and give to charities.

Published in The Crisis, March 1926

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