Johnson, Maggie Pogue
|Why Should the American Negro Be Proud?|
Why should the American negro be proud?
This question was asked in tones clear and loud,
The Negro who once was in fetters a slave
Now passes in freedom from birth to his grave.
Why should the Negro with eagerness yearn
For wisdom which teaches men how to discern,
Why should they with faithful hearts plead
Or yearn for wisdom that they may succeed.
Does not the same God who rules on high
Instill in the hearts of all mankind to try,
Is not the same God the Negro protector,
Why says, "Of persons I'm no respecter."
Then, should persons in ignorance plead
To know why the Negro wants to succeed,
When Nature's law in common states--
That human beings have similar traits.
The Negro for wisdom puts in a petition,
That intelligently he too may live;
That he may gain such recognition
That intelligence might give.
In ignorance they lived for years,
When they had not the chance to learn;
That ignorance to them bro't bitter tears,
And now for wisdom they yearn.
The best of this race make good their chance,
This story, schools and colleges tell,
Each year may be seen their steady advance
As their numbers in greatness swell.
Then should the American Negro be proud,
When each day he makes an advance,
As gradually he's moved away the cloud
Which for years denied him a chance.
Then, why not encourage him each day,
When he tries to make most of his life,
And live in a friendly feeling way,
Casting aside all malice and strife.
Would not life be a pleasure,
If the races would manifest
Such interest in each other
That none would advancement detest.
Would not our lives be glorious
If friendship ruled the land,
Making our efforts victorious,
Regardless of race or clan.
What will become of the Negro
When friendship's ebb is low,
What will make him a hero
In the midst of an embittered foe.
The Negro must learn, if he would improve,
And remove the many defects
Which cause other races to term him rude,
And for him to lose their respect.
Among the White race he has some friends
Who urge him onward each day;
Gladly a helping hand they lend
As he onward works his way.
Yet in the distance not afar
He sees a heavy cloud
Moving slowly o'er the land
Where Negroes are justly proud.
Will the storm's effect prove serious?
To know we can only wait;
For in ways almost mysterious
Sometimes comes a nation's fate.
Then, Negro, Oh! Negro, cease repining,
'Tis said each cloud has a silver lining;
Pray to the God who rules on high,--
He has the power to clear the sky.
It is He who rules the universe,
And guides it's affairs for better or worse;
All earthly affairs are in His hands,
The whole earth moves at His commands.
'Twas by His aid and thro' His power
The Negro has made an advance;
He aids them thro' their trying hours
That they might have a chance.
Should not the American Negro be proud
When he has been given a start,
And tho' he discerns some heavy clouds,
He should toil with an earnest heart.
Yea! toil with an earnest heart
And deeds of evil shun,
'Tis said that we're remembered
By all that we have done.
Then, Negro, toil on, act well your part;
Bravely stand the test;
Do your duty, be earnest at heart;
Believe what happens is best.
And when your task on earth is done,
And time for reward is at hand,
When at last the victory's won,
And you view you happy land,--
In happiness, in boundless love,
You'll spend eternity in realms above;
After having stood the test,
You'll enjoy, above, the rest, sweet rest.