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

James A. Atkins, "The First Wireless Message" (1925)

Long ere your winged caravels grand
Touched my sunny Afric strand,
Bringing Bibles, beads and rum.
Enslaved my body, left me dumb--

Long ere your learned Nordic sires
Harnessed heaven's flashing fires,
Imprisoned them in copper wires
And bade them do their hearts' desires--

Ere your thoughts flashed with speed of light
Through realms of universal night--
Ere telegraph or radio
Connected Capetown with Cairo--

I communed from place to place
With all the sons of Afric race;
O'er desert silence, jungle hum--
I conquered distance with my drum. 

Published in The Crisis, July 1925

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