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.

    Otto Leland Bohanan


The Dawn’s awake! 
  A flash of smoldering flame and fire
Ignites the East.  Then, higher, higher,
  O’er all the sky so gray, forlorn,
  The torch of gold is borne.

The Dawn’s awake! 
  The dawn of a thousand dreams and thrills. 
And music singing in the hills
  A paean of eternal spring
  Voices the new awakening.

The Dawn’s awake! 
  Whispers of pent-up harmonies,
With the mingled fragrance of the trees;
    Faint snatches of half-forgotten song—­
  Fathers! torn and numb,—­
    The boon of light we craved, awaited long,
  Has come, has come!


A great swart cheek and the gleam of tears,
The flutter of hopes and the shadow of fears,
And all day long the rub and scrub
With only a breath betwixt tub and tub. 
Fool!  Thou hast toiled for fifty years
And what hast thou now but thy dusty tears? 
In silence she rubbed...  But her face I had seen,
Where the light of her soul fell shining and clean.

    Theodore Henry Shackelford


Come, children, hear the joyful sound,
  Ding, Dong, Ding. 
Go spread the glad news all around,
  Ding, Dong, Ding.

Oh, the big bell’s tollin’ up in Zion,
  The big bell’s tollin’ up in Zion,
  The big bell’s tollin’ up in Zion,
    Ding, Dong, Ding.

I’ve been abused and tossed about,
  Ding, Dong, Ding. 
But glory to the Lamb, I shout! 
  Ding, Dong, Ding.

My bruthah jus’ sent word to me,
  Ding, Dong, Ding. 
That he’d done set his own self free. 
  Ding, Dong, Ding.

Ole massa said he could not go,
  Ding, Dong, Ding. 
But he’s done reached Ohio sho’. 
  Ding, Dong, Ding.

Ise gwine to be real nice an’ meek,
  Ding, Dong, Ding. 
Den I’ll run away myself nex’ week. 
  Ding, Dong, Ding.


Oh, the big bell’s tollin’ up in Zion,
  The big bell’s tollin’ up in Zion,
  The big bell’s tollin’ up in Zion,
    Ding, Dong Ding.

    Lucian B. Watkins


Out in the Night thou art the sun
Toward which thy soul-charmed children run,
  The faith-high height whereon they see
  The glory of their Day To Be—­
The peace at last when all is done.

The night is dark but, one by one,
Thy signals, ever and anon,
  Smile beacon answers to their plea,
  Out in the Night.

Ah, Life! thy storms these cannot shun;
Give them a hope to rest upon,
  A dream to dream eternally,
  The strength of men who would be free
And win the battle race begun,
  Out in the Night!

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