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

George Marion McClellan, "Daybreak" (1916)

 Awake! arise! Oh, men of my race, 
 I see our morning star, 
 And feel the dawn-breeze on my face 
 Creep inward, from afar.
 I feel the dawn, with soft-like tread, 
 Steal through our lingering night. 
 Aglow with flame our sky to spread 
 In floods of morning light. 
 Arise! my men, be wide awake 
 To hear the bugle call, 
 For Negroes everywhere to break 
 The bands that bind us all. 
 Great Lincoln, now with glory graced,  
 All God-like with the pen. 
 Our chattel fetters broke, and placed 
 Us in the ranks of men. 
 But even he could not awake 
 The dead, nor make alive, 
 Nor change stern nature's laws which make 
 The fittest to survive. 
 Let every man his soul inure. 
 In noblest sacrifice, 
 And with a heart of oak endure, 
 Ignoble, arrant prejudice. 
 Endurance, love, will yet prevail 
 Against all laws of hate; 
 Such armaments can never fail 
 Our race its best estate. 
 Let none make common cause with sin, 
 Be that in honor bound, 
 For they who fight with God must win 
 On every battle ground. 
 Though wrongs there are, and wrongs have been, 
 And wrongs we still must face, 
 We have more friends than foes within 
 The Anglo-Saxon race. 
 In spite of all the babel cries, 
 Of those who rage and shout, 
 God's silent forces daily rise 
 To bring His will about. 
 Our portion is, and yet will be, 
 To drink a bitter cup 
 In many things, yet all must see 
 The race is moving up. 
 Oh! men of my race, awake! arise! 
 Our morning's in the air, 
 There's scarlet all along the skies, 
 Our day breaks everywhere. 

Published in George Marion McClellan, The Path of Dreams, 1916

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