"HEREDITY"

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.


Back to Poem Index