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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938). The Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922.

The Negro Soldiers

THESE truly are the Brave,

These men who cast aside

Old memories, to walk the blood-stained pave

Of Sacrifice, joining the solemn tide

That moves away, to suffer and to die

For Freedom—when their own is yet denied!

O Pride! O Prejudice! When they pass by,

Hail them, the Brave, for you now crucified!

These truly are the Free,

These souls that grandly rise

Above base dreams of vengeance for their wrongs,

Who march to war with visions in their eyes

Of Peace through Brotherhood, lifting glad songs,

Aforetime, while they front the firing line.

Stand and behold! They take the field to-day,

Shedding their blood like Him now held divine,

That those who mock might find a better way!