I see the African savage as he drinks his palmy wine, and basks in the sunshine of his native bliss, and is happy.
I see the man-catcher, impelled by thirst of gold, as he entraps his simple- souled victim in the snares of bondage and death, by use of force or guile.
I see the ocean basin whitened with his bones, and the ocean current running red with his blood, amidst the hellish horrors of the middle passage.
I see him laboring for two centuries and a half in unrequited toil, making the hillsides of our southland to glow with the snow-white fleece of cotton, and the valleys to glisten with the golden sheaves of grain.
I see him silently enduring cruelty and torture indescribable, with flesh flinching beneath the sizz of angry whip or quivering under the gnaw of the sharp-toothed bloodhound.
I see a chivalric civilization instinct with dignity, comity and grace rising upon pillars supported by his strength and brawny arm.
I see the swarthy matron lavishing her soul in altruistic devotion upon the offspring of her alabaster mistress.
I see the haughty sons of a haughty race pouring out their lustful passion upon black womanhood, filling our land with a bronzed and tawny brood.
I see also the patriarchal solicitude of the kindly-hearted owners of men, in whose breast not even iniquitous system could sour the milk of human kindness.
I hear the groans, the sorrows, the sighings, the soul striving of these benighted creatures of God, rising up from the low grounds of sorrow and reaching the ear of Him Who regardeth man of the lowliest estate.
I strain my ear to supernal sound, and I hear in the secret chambers of the Almighty the order to the Captain of Host to break his bond and set him free.
I see Abraham Lincoln, himself a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, arise to execute the high decree.
I see two hundred thousand black boys in blue baring their breasts to the bayonets of the enemy, that their race might have some slight part in its own deliverance.
I see the great Proclamation delivered in the year of my birth of which I became the first fruit and beneficiary.
I see the assassin striking down the great Emancipator; and the house of mirth is transformed into the Golgotha of the nation.
I watch the Congress as it adds to the Constitution new words, which make the document a charter of liberty indeed.
I see the new made citizen running to and fro in the first fruit of his new¨found freedom.
I see him rioting in the flush of privilege which the nation had vouchsafed, but destined, alas, not long to last.
I see him thrust down from the high seat of political power, by fraud and force, while the nation looks on in sinister silence and acquiescent guilt.
I see the tide of public feeling run cold and chilly, as the vial of racial wrath is wreaked upon his bowed and defenseless head.
I see his body writhing in the agony of death as his groans issue from the crackling flames, while the funeral pyre lights the midnight sky with its dismal glare. My heart sinks with heaviness within me.
I see that the path of progress has never taken a straight line, but has always been a zigzag course amid the conflicting forces of right and wrong, truth and error, justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy.
I see that the great generous American Heart, despite the temporary flutter, will finally beat true to the higher human impulse, and my soul abounds with reassurance and hope.
I see the marvelous advance in the rapid acquisition of knowledge and acquirement of things material, and attainment in the higher pursuits of life, with his face fixed upon that light which shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.
I see him who was once deemed sicken, smitten of God, and afflicted, now entering with universal welcome into the patrimony of mankind, and I look calmly upon the centuries of blood and tears and travail of soul, and am satisfied.
Dr. Kelly Miller was a professor of sociology in Howard University. He had been professor of mathematics. He was the author of several prose works - able expositions of aspects of inter-racial problems. It is rumored that he was a poet. However, that may be, his admirable volume of essays entitled "Out of the House of Bondage" concludes with a strophic chant highly poetical, and poured forth with the fervor of some old Celtic bard, triumphant in the vision of a new day dawning.
The poem was taken from NEGRO POETS AND THEIR POEMS.
I committed this poem to memory at age eleven. It was at that age I began delivering dad's speeches before the Florida State Conference's NAACP annual conventions. Dad would write the speech, I would commit it to memory and deliver it. Each speech ended in a poem. This is one of two I can remember. This is a message stating the facts of from which we came and the hope of what will come.
Juanita Evangeline Moore
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