To the Negro Farmers of the United States

By Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 1875–1935
God washes clean the souls and hearts of you,
His favored ones, whose backs bend o’er the soil,
Which grudging gives to them requite for toil
In sober graces and in vision true.
God places in your hands the pow’r to do
A service sweet. Your gift supreme to foil
The bare-fanged wolves of hunger in the moil
Of Life’s activities. Yet all too few
Your glorious band, clean sprung from Nature’s heart;
The hope of hungry thousands, in whose breast
Dwells fear that you should fail. God placed no dart
Of war within your hands, but pow’r to start
Tears, praise, love, joy, enwoven in a crest
To crown you glorious, brave ones of the soil.

NOTES: from The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer

Source: The Works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson Volume 2 The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (Oxford University Press, 1988)

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Poet Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 1875–1935

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Activities, Gardening, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity, Class

Holidays Labor Day

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

Biography

Poet, essayist, diarist, and activist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mixed-race parents. Her African American, Anglo, Native American, and Creole heritage contributed to her complex understandings of gender, race, and ethnicity, subjects she often addressed in her work. Her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895), was published when she was just 20. A writer of short stories, essays, and . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Gardening, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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