The New Negro

He scans the world with calm and fearless eyes,
      Conscious within of powers long since forgot;
At every step, new man-made barriers rise
      To bar his progress—but he heeds them not.
He stands erect, though tempests round him crash,
      Though thunder bursts and billows surge and roll;
He laughs and forges on, while lightings flash
      Along the rocky pathway to his goal.
Impassive as a Sphinx, he stares ahead—
      Foresees new empires rise and old ones fall;
While caste-mad nations lust for blood to shed,
      He sees God’s finger writing on the wall.
With soul awakened, wise and strong he stands,
Holding his destiny within his hands.

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.