Many African American poets spoke to the failure of America to live up to its glorified principles of democracy and enticing promises to "the least of these," its African American citizens. But these poets also celebrated those African Americans who fought to make the American dream come true for African Americans and, by doing so, challenged America to make sure its principles and promises continue to be true for all Americans. In this sense, they fought not only for African Americans, but for all Americans, for all times.
Best known for the poem "I Want to Die While You Love Me," Georgia Douglas Johnson wrote poems that were personal, very honest. In the poem "Black Woman," she speaks to the failure of American to live up to its promise for many African Americans-- so much so that she questioned whether a woman should give birth to a back child and have him or her live in such a "cruel" world of white oppression.
Paul Laurence Dunbar is one of America's greatest poets. He may be best known for the poem "We Wear the Mask." But he wrote many great poems that were not viewed highly because they were written in black dialect.
The poem "Frederick Douglas" was written shortly after the death of Frederick Douglas. It was not a eulogy so much as a celebration of Douglas courageous and consistent advocacy for African Americans, his untiring effort to make America a land of liberation and freedom for all Americans.
|by Georgia Douglas Johnson|
Don’t knock at the door, little child,