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

Raymond Garfield Dandridge, "Blacks in Blue" (1917)

 In Revolutionary days 
 A struggling nation, young, 

 Sent out a call for volunteers 
 With powder-horn and gun ; 

 When Betsy Ross unfurled the flag 
 They vowed to die or do, 

 And marched with Green in Jersey, 
 A few brave Blacks in Blue. 

 In the "War of Eighteen-twelve," 
 With Perry they stood well. 

 To save the day at New Orleans 
 They fought, they bled, and fell ; 

 In "Indian Wars" they took a part, 
 Helped make the "Iron clad's" crew, 

 They never took a backward step; 
 Courageous Blacks in Blue. 

 In the "War of the Rebellion," 
 Ethiopia's son were there; 

 Readily they served their country. 
 Willingly they did their share. 

 Their battle cry was "Victory!" 
 They knew no Waterloo; 

 They cheered aloud 'mid bursting shell, 
 Fearless Blacks in Blue. 

 In the cruel "Civil War," 
 Far worse than all others; 

 Fathers fought against their sons, 
 And brothers fought their brothers. 

 At Gettysburg and Bloody Run, 
 Their bleeding bodies strew 

 The battlefield, to others free; 
 Unflinching Blacks in Blue. 
In Cuba and the Philippines 
 Their deeds of valor won, 

 Remember how they rescued 
 The Colonel, at San Juan; 

 Above a block house on the hill 
 They raised their "colors true," 

 Then lent aid to the shattered "Sixth" — 
 Gallant Blacks in Blue. 
 In Nineteen-sixteen with Old Glory 
 They marched into Mexico; 

 And at Carrizal, outnumbered, 
 Bravely faced a deadly foe; 

 The acid test of time has tried them, 
 Tried and found them solid, through. 

 And there never was a traitor 
 Found among the Blacks in Blue. 

Published in Penciled Poems, 1917

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