These Are My People

by Fenton Johnson

These are my people, I have built for them
A castle in the cloister of my heart;
And I shall fight that they may dwell therein.
The God that gave Sojourner tongue of fire
Has made with me a righteous covenant
That these, my brothers of the dusk, shall rise
To Sinai and thence in purple walk
A newer Canaan, vineyards of the West.
The rods that chasten us shall break as straw
And fire consume the godless in the South;
The hand that struck the helpless of my race
Shall wither as a leaf in drear November,
And liberty, the nectar God has blest,
Shall flow as free as wine in Babylon.
O God of Covenants, forget us not!

Anthologized in Negro Poets and their Poems (1923).