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

James Edward McCall, "The New Negro" (1927)

He scans the world with calm and fearless eyes,
Conscious within of powers long since forgot;
At every step, new man-made barriers rise
To bar his progress—but he heeds them not.
He stands erect, though tempests round him crash,
Though thunder bursts and billows surge and roll;
He laughs and forges on, while lightnings flash
Along the rocky pathway to his goal.
Impassive as a Sphinx, he stares ahead—
Foresees new empires rise and old ones fall;
While caste-mad nations lust for blood to shed,
He sees God's finger writing on the wall.
With soul awakened, wise and strong he stands,
Holding his destiny within his hands.


Published in Opportunity, July 1927

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