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


(To be a Negro in America!)
To feel emotion struggling and to need
O Christ, the power to speak the pregnant word,
That o'er these earthly thunders might be heard
And flame the souls of men to glorious deed--
To know the spirit's urge to rise and lead
The "hosts that sit in darkness"--to be stirred
To light a world, by wrong dimmed and blurred,
To cry aloud against the groveling greed
Of men, with faces ominous and pale,
Who stultify the souls of darker men,--
All this to see, to know, to feel and then--
And then, ignoble, shameful word, to fail,
Because convention spurns my human cry,
Because, oh, luckless fortune, I am I!

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