"Poetry for the People": Reading Garveyism through Poetry

In Respect to Marcus Garvey, by Ethel Trew Dunlap

He loosed the shackles from the hand

Bound for three-hundred years.

His voice resounded through the land

‘Til millions sent up cheers.


He led his race out from the tomb

Of darkness and despair.

That crushed hopes might revive and bloom

In liberty’s pure air.


He did not heed the cynic’s sneer--

His soul fell in a dream.

And critics could not hush the lips

That spoke of freedom’s theme.


He saw his mother country free--

Behold her rising star.

And begged his countrymen to flee

Where kin and loved ones are.


Inspired by God, one hundred years

Became to him a day:

He saw his kinsmen, heard their cry

When future tyrants sway.


He saw them swept like driven tide

To Canada’s retreat,

Confined there by the ocean bars,

And trampled under feet.


He saw his people pass away

Like clouds that tempests rend.

While idlers criticised and smiled,

He was the black man’s friend.


Fired with a patriotic zeal

That fanned his loving heart.

He yearned his native land ties

That aliens tore apart.


He saw a flag eyes could not see--

A nation yet unborn--A land where black men might be free,

The dawn of freedom’s morn.


He did not deem the price too dear

(Whatever it might be)

For black men to regain their soil

And set their country free.


A Paul Revere that God hath raised

Of Ethiopian fame,

To rouse a nation and to fan

Its fire into a flame.


From the March 5, 1921 issue.

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