At the Closed Gate of Justice
by James D. Corrothers

To be a Negro in a day like this
Demands forgiveness. Bruised with blow on blow,
Betrayed, like him whose woe dimmed eyes gave bliss
Still must one succor those who brought one low,
To be a Negro in a day like this.
To be a Negro in a day like this
Demands rare patience – patience that can wait
In utter darkness. 'Tis the path to miss,
And knock, unheeded, at an iron gate,
To be a Negro in a day like this.
To be a Negro in a day like this
Demands strange loyalty. We serve a flag
Which is to us white freedom's emphasis.
Ah! one must love when Truth and Justice lag,
To be a Negro in a day like this.
To be a Negro in a day like this – 
Alas! Lord God, what evil have we done?
Still shines the gate, all gold and amethyst,
But I pass by, the glorious goal unwon,
"Merely a Negro" – in a day like this!

James David Corrothers (1869–1917) was an African-American poet, journalist, and minister whom editor T. Thomas Fortune called "the coming poet of the race." When he died, W. E. B. Du Bois eulogized him as "a serious loss to the race and to literature."

Photo: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on this day.