African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

Ethel Trew Dunlap, "In Respect to Marcus Garvey" (1921)

He loosed the shackles from the hand
Bound for three-hundred years.
His voice resounded through the land
‘Til millions sent up cheers.
 
He led his race out from the tomb
Of darkness and despair.
That crushed hopes might revive and bloom
In liberty’s pure air.
 
He did not heed the cynic’s sneer--
His soul fell in a dream.
And critics could not hush the lips
That spoke of freedom’s theme.
 
He saw his mother country free--
Behold her rising star.
And begged his countrymen to flee
Where kin and loved ones are.
 
Inspired by God, one hundred years
Became to him a day:
He saw his kinsmen, heard their cry
When future tyrants sway.
 
He saw them swept like driven tide
To Canada’s retreat,
Confined there by the ocean bars,
And trampled under feet.
 
He saw his people pass away
Like clouds that tempests rend.
While idlers criticised and smiled,
He was the black man’s friend.
 
Fired with a patriotic zeal
That fanned his loving heart.
He yearned his native land ties
That aliens tore apart.
 
He saw a flag eyes could not see--
A nation yet unborn--
A land where black men might be free,
The dawn of freedom’s morn.
 
He did not deem the price too dear
(Whatever it might be)
For black men to regain their soil
And set their country free.

 A Paul Revere that God hath raised
Of Ethiopian fame,
To rouse a nation and to fan
Its fire into a flame.


Published in The Negro World, March 5, 1921
 

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