At the Closed Gate of Justice by James David Corrothers

To be a Negro in a day like this
Demands forgiveness. Bruised with blow on blow,
Betrayed, like him whose woe dimmed eyes gave bliss,
Still must one succor those who brought one low,
To be a Negro in a day like this.

To be a Negro in a day like this
Demands rare patience—patience that can wait
In utter darkness. ‘Tis the path to miss,
And knock, unheeded, at an iron gate,
To be a Negro in a day like this.

To be a Negro in a day like this
Demands strange loyalty. We serve a flag
Which is to us white freedom’s emphasis.
Ah! One must love when Truth and Justice lag,
To be a Negro in a day like this.

To be a Negro in a day like this—
Alas! Lord God, what evil have we done?
Still shines the gate, all gold and amethyst,
But I pass by, the glorious goal unwon,
“Merely a Negro”—in a day like this!

From: Guzman, Richard R. (ed), Black Writing from Chicago: In the World, Not of It?, 2006, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, pp. 14-15.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=NYHV1P4we4UC)

Date: 1913

By: James David Corrothers (1869-1917)

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