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Negro

 

I am a Negro:

   Black as the night is black,

   Black like the depths of my Africa.

 

I’ve been a slave:

  Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean.

  I brushed the boots of Washington

 

I’ve been a worker:

   Under my hands the pyramid arose.

   I made mortar for the Woolworth Building.

 

I’ve been a singer:

   All the way from Africa to Georgia

   I carried my sorrow songs.

   I made ragtime.

 

I’ve been a victim:

   The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.

   They lynch me still in Mississippi

 

I am a Negro:

   Black as the night is black,

   Black like the depths of my Africa.

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