Prelude to Our Age: A Negro History Poem – Langston Hughes (pt. 4)

Yet Ira Aldridge played Shakespeare in London.
Frederick Douglass ran away to freedom,
Wrote books, made speeches, edited “The North Star.”
Sojourner Truth made speeches, too.
Harriet Tubman led her marches.
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” swept the nation –
While we, who were not free and could not write a word,
Gave freedom a song the whole earth heard:

Oh Freedom!
Freedom over me!
Before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord
And be free.

Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey
and thousands nameless went home.
Black men died at Harpers Ferry with John Brown.
Lovejoy, Garrison, Wendell Phillips spoke.
The North Star guided men along the Quaker underground
To Canada – hills to cross, rivers to ford.
Sermons, revolt, prayers, Civil War –

Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord!

Lincoln:
1863.
Once slaves –
“Henceforth and forever free.”

My Lord, what a morning,
My Lord, what a morning,
My Lord, what a morning,
When the stars began to fall!

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