“At the Closed Gates of Justice” by James D. Corrothers


At the Closed Gates of Justice

by James D. Corrothers

TO be a Negro in a day like this        

  Demands forgiveness. Bruised with blow on blow,

Betrayed, like him whose woe dimmed eyes gave bliss        

  Still must one succor those who brought one low,  

To be a Negro in a day like this.                 5


To be a Negro in a day like this         

  Demands rare patience—patience that can wait     

In utter darkness. ’Tis the path to miss,         

  And knock, unheeded, at an iron gate,        

To be a Negro in a day like this.                      10


To be a Negro in a day like this         

  Demands strange loyalty. We serve a flag  

Which is to us white freedom’s emphasis.    

  Ah! one must love when Truth and Justice lag,      

To be a Negro in a day like this.                       15


To be a Negro in a day like this—     

  Alas! Lord God, what evil have we done?  

Still shines the gate, all gold and amethyst,  

  But I pass by, the glorious goal unwon,      

“Merely a Negro”—in a day like this!                    20

 

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