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

Jasper Ross, "King Cotton and the Negro" (1914)

With brawny arms the negro stands,
Uplifting in his sable hands 
King Cotton; while about him grow
The pretty buds as white as snow.
His arms alone support, sustain,
His royal person while he reigns,
Exalt, ye nations that be prone,
Him who thus stands beneath the throne
For lo, what danger! what alarm!
Should he withdraw his mighty arm.
Pray, what if he should take away
That pow’r which gives King Cotton sway
O’er all the world; for by his right 
He can withhold that which would be blight
The nations all upon the globe.
For though he may not wear the robe,
Nor on the regal throne may sit,
He is the king; though black quite fit;
Despite illit’racy and birth,
To wield the scepter o’er the earth.

Published in The Crisis, September 1914

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