In Honor of Black History Month, Claude McKay's If We Must Die

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to again share Claude McKay's If We Must Die. This poem, which McKay wrote in response to the racism which blacks in the United States experienced, was previously posted on this blog in 2010. It was also quoted by Winston Churchill as a rallying cry against Nazi oppression during World War II.

If We Must Die.

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
hunted and penned in an inglorious spot
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs
making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die
So that our precious blood may not be shed
in vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

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