Time to Die

Ray G. Dandridge

Ray G. Dandridge

Raymond G. Dandridge was nicknamed “The Paul Laurence Dunbar of Cincinnati” because his use of dialect and his subject matter closely matched that of 1900s poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dandridge emulated Dunbar’s works, but he also took part in the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, using his art as a means for the social advancement of blacks. Despite his relative seclusion from Harlem, New York, and the world in general due to paralysis, Dandridge kept his poetry vivid and relevant.

Black brother, think you life so sweet
That you would live at any price?
Does mere existence balance with
The weight of your great sacrifice?
Or can it be you fear the grave
Enough to live and die a slave?
O Brother! be it better said,
When you are gone and tears are shed,
That your death was the stepping stone
Your children’s children cross’d upon.
Men have died that men might live:
Look every foeman in the eye!
If necessary, your life give
For something, ere in vain you die.

© Short Édition

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