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

James Weldon Johnson, "To America" (1917)

How would you have us, as we are?
Or sinking 'neath the load we bear?
Our eyes fixed forward on a star?
Or gazing empty at despair?

Rising or falling? Men or things?
With dragging pace or footsteps fleet?
Strong, willing sinews in your wings?
Or tightening chains about your feet?

Published in The Crisis, November 1917

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