African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

James Ephraim McGirt, "The Stars and Stripes Shall Never Trail the Dust" (1900)

THE STARS AND STRIPES SHALL
NEVER TRAIL THE DUST.

'Tis a colored captain's story
That was told to Uncle Sam,
He was mustered out because the war was o'er;
He had borne his honor bravely
And the victory he had won,
He came to deliver up the flag he bore.
He was standing at the White House
With the Stars and Stripes in hand,
His sword and uniform with gore were red ;
A bullet had pierced his body,
Yet it had not caused bis death,
As he gave to bim the flag he slowly said :
“ Uncle Sam, here is Old Glory,
That you trusted to my care,
Through the hottest I have ever held my trust;
Though the bullets have rent my body,
Yet to you I can truly say,
That the Stars and Stripes have never trailed the
dust.'"

CHORUS

No, the Stars and Stripes shall never trail the dust while I live,
But shall ever wave untarnished o er the free;
Yes, the shells may rend my body,
And may death come if it must,
But the Stars and Stripes shall never trail the dust.
Uncle Sam then took the flag
And gazed into the Hero's face;
He said, “ My son, you're black, but still you're a man;"
On his breast he placed a medal,
And he said remember me;
To forget you; no, my boy, I never can!
Son, your Uncle knows no color,
Neither any party line;
The call I made was simply for the brave.
And you loving soldiers heard me
And rallied to the call,
And my country from destruction you have saved.
I saw you darkies bear the flag
Through shells up San Juan Hill,
I saw the Spaniards from your valor flee;

And the Stars and Stripes were waving
O'er Morro Castle bold;
They are waving now in Cuba o'er the free.

CHORUS

No, the Stars and Stripes shall never trail the dust while I live;
But shall ever wave untarnished o'er the free:
Yes, the shells may rend my body
And may death come if it must;
But the Stars and Stripes shall never trail the dust


Published in Avenging the Maine, 1900

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