The New Negro

Publisher and Poet -James Edward McCall and wife Margaret. 1938

by James Edward McCall

He scans the world with calm and fearless eyes,
Conscious within of powers long since forgot;
At every step, new man-made barriers rise
To bar his progress—but he heeds them not.
He stands erect, though tempests round him crash,
Though thunder bursts and billows surge and roll;
He laughs and forges on, while lightnings flash
Along the rocky pathway to his goal.
Impassive as a Sphinx, he stares ahead—
Foresees new empires rise and old ones fall;
While caste-mad nations lust for blood to shed,
He sees God’s finger writing on the wall.
With soul awakened, wise and strong he stands,
Holding his destiny within his hands.

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.

Below other posts about the poet, James Edward McCall, my maternal grandmother’s first cousin. Their mother’s were sisters, daughters of Eliza for whom this blog is named.

“She was owned before the war by the late Colonel Edmund Harrison of this county.”
An “At Home” In Honor of Chicago Visitors
1940 Census – James and Margaret McCall and Family
Poems by James E. McCall
James Edward McCall, Poet and Publisher 1880 – 1963
Winter In St. Antoine

6 thoughts on “The New Negro

  1. Kristin,
    Your pairing of poems/stories of the 1920s with the narrative of his life recreates part of the world in which James lived. That isn’t easy to do. The links to other posts about him creates a biography. You do outstanding auto-ethnographic work. I too wish this was all historical. Current events are so much more than shadows, they are reincarnations. We shouldn’t have to be living all this again.

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