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"The Black Man's Burden" (Excerpt)

Among the dozens of replies to Rudyard Kipling’s pro-imperialist poem "The White Man's Burden," was “The Black Man’s Burden,” written by African-American clergyman and editor H. T. Johnson and published in April 1899. A “Black Man’s Burden Association” was even organized with the goal of demonstrating that mistreatment of brown people in the Philippines was an extension of the mistreatment of black Americans at home.

Take up the black man's burden!
Not his across the seas,
But his who grows your cotton,
And sets your heart at ease,
When to the sodden rice fields
Your children dare not go,
Nor brave the heat that singes like
The foundry's fiery glow.
Take up the black man's burden!
He helped to share your own
On many a scene by battle-clouds
Portentously o'erblown;
On Wagner's awful parapet,
As late where Shafter's plan
Was for the boys to take the lead,
He showed himself a man.

Source | John White Chadwick, Later Poems, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Co., 1905).
Creator | John White Chadwick
Item Type | Fiction/Poetry
Cite This document | John White Chadwick, “"The Black Man's Burden" (Excerpt),” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 1, 2023,

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