428 AFRO-AMERICAN POETS AND THEIR VERSE
Fond freedom's bells peal forth in merry chimes,
And ye loud anvil strokes, ring out your notes
In gladsome echoes from departed times.
Thy tale to listening millions now untold;
With brazen tongues or iron-volumed throats,
Proclaim our hero's deeds a century old,
Our hero's arms the gyves and shackles broke,
That first his own form held, alike his mind,
Then, Samson-like, from spell bound slumber woke,
Employed his strength to liberate his kind."
Those who have not read the whole of this poem can
judge by this fragmentary part of its excellence.
Others whose verse has refreshed us on our way, are
Bishop Tanner, Mrs. B. F. Lee, T. T. Fortune. Alice
Ruth Moore, Virgie Whitsett and Mamie Eloise Fox.
If so much has been accomplished within forty years
of arduous struggle with poverty and prejudice, what
may we not expect under more favorable circumstances ?
To the editors of Afro-American journals who have en-
couraged us to sing our trembling lays by giving them
a place in their columns,, we owe a debt of gratitude.
A great poet like Milton or Shakespeare we have not
produced, nor even one to rank with Tennyson or Long-
fellow, but we have accomplished enough to warrant us
in believing that, with riper scholarship, in the course
of time, the Afro-American poet will contribute to the
world's literature, poetry, beautiful, unique and strong.
KATHERINE DAVIS TILLMAN.