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

James D. Corrothers, "The Black Man's Soul" (1915)

A curious giant came, years ago,
Blind and black, down the Valley of Woe.
Untutored, and groping in primal night,
He fondled the harp, with a child's delight.
'Blind Tom,' the Musician! God's hint was he
Of a mystical music still to be.
I am sure, through that melodic surge and roll,
That music lives in the black man's soul.

A Singer came, with a tender lyre,
And dawn-filled eyes of love and fire;
And I knew, as Dunbar swept the strings,
That he brought what long, long yearning brings;
Dream-Voice of a crooning race was he,
God's hint of a beauty yet to be!
For I know, by a glimpse of his lyric scroll,
that beauty dwells in the black man's soul.

An Orator came, and he thrilled the heart
Till the blood surged hot, with a sudden start,
As he rent the bleak rocks of a people's gloom,
And sounded Oppression's knell-filled doom. 

First published in The Crisis, October 1915

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