Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922

Frederick Douglass

[Editor's Note: Frederick Douglass was unsure of the date of his exact birthday, and some historians give his year of birth as 1818. He later chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14.]

(In honor of the centenary of his birth—February 1817-1917.)
A century of mighty thoughts has passed,
Of mighty deeds and Merlin-magic years,
Since first his infant wail assailed the ears
That knew not how prophetic was the blast!
Then swiftly sped the years into the vast
Store-house of time! The bitter vale-of-tears
Was vanquished, and the dark abyss-of-fears;
The thing, transformed, became a Soul at last!
Search noble history's most stirring page,
And tell what life excelled his in the race;
Trace deeds of daring men in every age
And say if one out-rivalled this dark face.
Great Douglass--slave and fugitive and Man,
With the immortal host, thou art in the van! 

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