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

Joshua Henry Jones, Jr., "They've Lynched a Man in Dixie" (1919)

They've Lynched a Man in Dixie 
 They've lynched a man in Dixie.  
    Oh God, behold the crime. 
 And 'midst the mad mob's howling  
    How sweet the church bells chime. 
 They've lynched a man in Dixie.  
    You say this cannot be? 
 See where his lead-torn body  
    Mute hangs from yonder tree. 
 They've soiled the soul of Dixie.  
    They've steeped her heart in guilt. 
 Long ages will remember  
    This shame her people built. 
 Blind, bestial, brutal murder  
    To sate some selfish claim! 
 Is this the land of freedom?  
     For this doth Justice aim? 
 They've sent a soul to judgment.  
    God! yet they say they're good. 
 They strive to save the heathens  
    Yet thirst for human blood. 
 Must life be held so lightly  
    Which dares some right to claim? 
 Which asks Christ's human living;  
    Must they that body maim? 
 Where is the heart of Christians  
    When brute force rules the band? 
 Is there no fairness in you  
    Oh, this my native land? 
 They've lynched a man in Dixie.  
    Dear God, look down and see 
 Where men feed lusts and hatreds  
    And shame fair Liberty. 
 Where is the dream of Justice  
    For which our souls we give? 
 If man beneath we trample  
    Because he seeks to live? 
 Look to the Cross, oh people.  
    Once raised on Calvary. 
 Bleed heart, for pain and sorrow  
    But brothers let us be. 

Published in The Heart of the World (1919)

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