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

H.T. Johnson, "A Song of Hope" (1904)

A Song of Hope.

The race is onward marching
No matter what they say,
The morning light is breaking,
The dawn not far away,
From distant cloud-capped hilltops
To Africa's distant way,
The light comes shining brighter
And brighter every day.
We build our schools and churches,
Write books and ever toil,
With blood and brain and muscle
To bless our country's soil;
We're told this is but folly
For strive as best we may,
The world grows dark and darker
About us every day.
The clouds though thick and heavy,
Yet have a brighter side;
Remember so it was the day
When Christ our Saviour died.
Judge Lynch and vile oppressors,
Though terrible in sway,
Must fail, for God and right are
Gaining ground each day.
Think of the ills we suffer
With those our fathers bore
On Southern soil in slavery,
On Africa's bleeding shore;
Contrast their faith with ours,
Though storm cast was the way,
They trusted God and looked for
A better, brighter day.
Then to the winds our doubtings,
Our song shall rend the night,
For God and home and country
Most valiantly we'll fight;
God's word shall be our stronghold,
His will let us obey,
And bless His name for giving
Hope of a brighter day.
O for an inspiration
To thrill the mighty throng,
A bugle note of triumph
A Gospel wave of song.
A deeper consecration
Toward what we ought to say
And do for God who pledges
The better, brighter day.

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