The Book of American Negro Poetry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about The Book of American Negro Poetry.

I wish to extend my thanks to Mr. Arthur A. Schomburg, who placed his valuable collection of books by Negro authors at my disposal.  I wish also to acknowledge with thanks the kindness of Dodd, Mead & Co. for permitting the reprint of poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar; of the Cornhill Publishing Company for permission to reprint poems of Georgia Douglas Johnson, Joseph S. Cotter, Jr., Bertram Johnson and Waverley Carmichael; and of Neale & Co. for permission to reprint poems of John W. Holloway.  I wish to thank Mr. Braithwaite for permission to use the included poems from his forthcoming volume, “Sandy Star and Willie Gee.”  And to acknowledge the courtesy of the following magazines:  The Crisis, The Century Magazine, The Liberator, The Freeman, The Independent, Others, and Poetry:  A Magazine of Verse.

James Weldon Johnson. 
New York City, 1921.


    Paul Laurence Dunbar


Seen my lady home las’ night,
  Jump back, honey, jump back. 
Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,
  Jump back, honey, jump back. 
Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,
Seen a light gleam f’om huh eye,
An’ a smile go flittin’ by—­
  Jump back, honey, jump back.

Hyeahd de win’ blow thoo de pine,
  Jump back, honey, jump back. 
Mockin’-bird was singin’ fine,
  Jump back, honey, jump back. 
An’ my hea’t was beatin’ so,
When I reached my lady’s do’,
Dat I could n’t ba’ to go—­
  Jump back, honey, jump back.

Put my ahm aroun’ huh wais’,
  Jump back, honey, jump back. 
Raised huh lips an’ took a tase,
  Jump back, honey, jump back. 
Love me, honey, love me true? 
Love me well ez I love you? 
An’ she answe’d, “Cose I do”—­
  Jump back, honey, jump back.

[Footnote 1:  Copyright by Dodd, Mead & Company.]


Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,
  Come to yo’ pappy an’ set on his knee. 
What you been doin’, suh—­makin’ san’ pies? 
  Look at dat bib—­You’s ez du’ty ez me. 
Look at dat mouf—­dat’s merlasses, I bet;
  Come hyeah, Maria, an’ wipe off his han’s. 
Bees gwine to ketch you an’ eat you up yit,
  Bein’ so sticky an’ sweet—­goodness lan’s!

Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes
  Who’s pappy’s darlin’ an’ who’s pappy’s chile? 
Who is it all de day nevah once tries
  Fu’ to be cross, er once loses dat smile? 
Whah did you git dem teef?  My, you’s a scamp! 
  Whah did dat dimple come f’om in yo’ chin? 
Pappy do’ know you—­I b’lieves you’s a tramp;
  Mammy, dis hyeah’s some ol’ straggler got in!

Let’s th’ow him outen de do’ in de san’,
  We do’ want stragglers a-layin’ ‘roun’ hyeah;
Let’s gin him ’way to de big buggah-man;
  I know he’s hidin’ erroun’ hyeah right neah. 
Buggah-man, buggah-man, come in de do’,
  Hyeah’s a bad boy you kin have fu’ to eat. 
Mammy an’ pappy do’ want him no mo’,
  Swaller him down f’om his haid to his feet!

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The Book of American Negro Poetry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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