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

Maurice N. Corbett, "Black Kingdoms of the Future" (1914)

Black Kingdoms of the Future.

Kingdoms and empires will they form
In Afric's fertile bosom warm;
Liberia will important grow;
An empire great will be Congo;
Ashantee's greatness will return;
The Zulus, great distinction earn;
Proud Abyssinia's lurid skies
To leading kingdom will arise.

Not subjects nor protectorates,
But honored independent states
With -polished kings and emperors,
And with a code of upright laws;
With warships riding on the seas,
And armies large to keep the peace;
With schools and splendid halls of art,
And in life's drama taking part.

The Aryan peoples now so great
And strong, will soon deteriorate
In art, in science and in law,
And in the finer points of war;
Will in their morals retrograde,
Their splendid governments will fade
Or crumble by the heavy hands
Of darker race invading bands.

This fact, the careful student greets;
That history itself repeats;
That what was done in days agone,
May we prepare for later on;
That nothing 'neath the sun is new,
Though lost art oft is, brought to view,
And, as past nations found decay,
So must the present pass away.

Malay or Mongol, Jap or Turk,
Or Negro, will begin the work
Of dissolution, which will grow
Till Aryan prestige, none will know;
Till present ruling empires vast
Become but relics of the past;
And where, upon the mighty seas
Strange pennons flutter in the breeze.

This sad catastrophe will come
From discontent and war at home,
And disregard for law and right,
Ere comes the damning, withering blight
Of foreign conquest, when must fall
These cherished institutions all;
And when must rise to take their place
The statutes of another race.

Proud India, when the British wane,
Her independence will regain
And prosper as in days of yore,
A province to be nevermore.
Her thrones and temples as of old,
Bedecked will stand, with purest gold;
In statecraft, arms: and industry,
Sublime, her dusky sons will be.

Will Europe's rulers rue the day
The Chinese wall was swept away;
As their defenseless coasts they see
Alive with Mongol soldiery
In vengeance come, to strike the blow
To crush their country's standing foe.
The "Yellow peril" is no myth
The people's minds to conjure with.

Awakened have these people been
By contact with dishonest men,
Who sought their country to despoil,
\And drive them from their native soil
Or rule them with an iron hand
Subject to kings of foreign land;
So now these yellow hoards prepare
To beard the lion in his lair.

And Nippon, empire of the seas,
Stands proud possessor of the keys
The door of hope to open wide
Unto that Oriental tide,
Which, like the Goths and Gauls of old,
To conquer Europe will make bold;
Nor will they from their conquests cease
Till haughty Europe sues for peace.

The distant Philippines will be
An independent nation, free
From foreign rule, and none will dare
Her starry flag1 to treat unfair.
Will be her cities beautified,
Her coasts and harbors fortified,
Her merchant-ships like busy bees,
With treasures filled, will sail the seas.

Her long lost science, wealth and fame,
Dark Ethiopia will reclaim.
Important cities will she boast,
Built inland, and upon the coast;
Her rivers, rivulets and rills,
A swarm will be with busy mills;
Her soil with railroads all around,
A perfect network will be found.

Great centers of the world's best trade,
These cities will in time be made:
Adis, Abeba, Ankobar,
With Harrar, Harper and Dondar,
Old Cape G'oast Castle, Kunassi,
Boma, Banana, Matadi,
Monrovia, Akkra, Great Bassum.
Buchanan, Edna, and Atsum.

Old Zanzibar and the Soudan,
Guinea, and Bechuanaland,
From, years of slumber will awake,
And resolution's sword will take
And to the battle-field will go
The tyrant whites to overthrow. 
And Zanzibar will hold a place
As high in fame as any race.

Its walls, with frowning guns arrayed,
A fort impregnable is made
Where slowly and majestically
The Congo flows into the sea,
Its Western borders to protect
From foreign greed, which would subject
Their sons to be but crawling things,
The property of distant kings.

With wisdom born of suffering,
The Negus and the native kings
Their latent race pride will arouse
And this new doctrine will espouse
Of "Africa for Africans,"
While Kaffirs and Numidians,
Ashantee bucks, and Zulu braves;
Well armied will rise to punish knaves.

Nor will these people be content
To be on peaceful callings bent.
Ambition's omnipresent wiles
Their kings will bind, and vengeance's smiles
Besistlessly will draw them on
With mite, to strike a blow beyond
The confines of their native shores
To settle up long standing scores.

O'er Southern Europe will they crowd
Till they appear a dusky cloud
Which marks the approaching' hurricane,
Whose forward rush 'twill be in vain
By human power, for men to check,
Till they have taught them to respect
The prowess of the sons of Ham
Like those of France or Uncle Sam.

As honored will their rulers be
As those of Spain or Germany.
Their subjects, should they choose to roam,
In other countries far from home,
Who now by all men are despised,
Will then by men be lionized;
Men's present; prejudice will flee
Before their gallant soldiery.

Their kingdoms, for defense allied;
Their subjects firmly unified;
Their soil, the richest of the earth,
With mines beneath of untold worth;
Their boundless forests, stately, grand,
The greatest known in any land
Whose timbers are with wealth replete
To bring the world unto their feet.

The pyramids and stolid sphinx,
In architecture form the links
Between their skill in ages gone
And what they'll bring forth later on
When giant structures will they rear,
To which "sky-scrapers" will appear
As ant-hills, to the mountain steep
Or to elephants, the barnyard sheep.

Will look the world to them, for bread
As Egypt once all nations fed;
For barley, rice and Indian maize,
Will these enlightened Negroes raise
Upon their fertile virgin soil
Without the worry, care and toil
Of other lands, with folks so filled
That they have left no land to till.

Published in The Harp of Ethiopia, 1914

This page has tags: