Textual History

This poem also appear in The Liberator (July, 1921): [*] Claude McKay Enslaved The Liberator (July, 1921): 6 .


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  1. Oh when I think of my long-suffering race,*

  2. For weary centuries despised, oppressed,

  3. Enslaved and lynched, denied a human place

  4. In the great life line of the Christian West;

  5. And in the Black Land disinherited,

  6. Robbed in the ancient country of its birth, *

  7. My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,

  8. For this my race that has no home on earth my race, my race, outcast upon the earth* .

  9. Then from the dark depths of my soul I cry

  10. To the avenging angel to consume

  11. The white man's world of wonders utterly:

  12. Let it be swallowed up in earth's vast womb,

  13. Or upward roll as sacrificial smoke

  14. To liberate my people from its yoke!


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

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