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

Georgia Douglas Johnson, "The True American" (1927)

Editor's note: This poem was attributed to "John Strong" in the April 1927 issue of The Crisis. In June, a correction notice appeared, crediting the poem to Georgia Douglas Johnson. Thanks to Neal Caren (of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) for finding the correction notice affirming the authorship of the poem. 

The True American
By John Strong 

America, here is your son, born of your iron heel,
Black blood and red and white contend along this frame of steel.
The thorns deep in his brow are set and yet he does not cower,
He goes with neither fears nor tears to crucifixion hour.
Nor yet does hatred blur his view of mankind’s frail parade,
From his commanding triple coign, all prejudices fade.
The ebbing nations coalesce in him and flow as one,
The bright shining rainbow sweeping back to God at set of sun!
Mark well the surety of tread, the new song high in air,
The new note in the nation’s throat, as permanent as prayer.
America, regard your son, The Cosmopolitan,
The pattern of posterity, The True American.

Published in The Crisis, April 1927

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