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

Carrie Williams Clifford, "Tercentenary of the Landing of Slaves at Jamestown 1619-1919" (1922)

Upon the slaver's deck, a motley band
Of blacks looked out upon the boundless main,
Knowing with anguished hearts that ne'er again
Their feet, with pride, would press their native land;
Theirs thenceforth to obey the rude command
Of masters, wielding cruel lash and chain,
Wringing three centuries of toil and pain
From helpless slaves!--Then waved war's magic wand,
And, at the sign, up rose twelve million men--
A brave, patriotic host, of great power,
To serve America in her crucial hour;
Titanic power, to bless or curse; for when
Pent wrong, injustice and oppression break,
Vesuvius-like, the heart of earth they shake!

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