I care not who was vicoius back of me,
No shadow of their sins on me is shed,
My will is greater than heredity--
I am no worm to feed upon the dead
My face, my form, my gestures, and my voice
May be reflections from a race that was,
But this I know--and knowing it, rejoice,
I am myself--a part of the Great Cause.
I am a spirit! spirit would suffice
If rightly used, to set a chained world free,
Am I not stronger than a mortal vice
That crawls the length of some ancestral tree?
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The Colored American Magazine VII(5) May 1904, p. 332.
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