"The book of American negro poetry" James Weldon Johnson (1922)

Author: James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)
Title: The book of American negro poetry
Publisher: New York: Harcourt, Brace and company
Year: 1922
Pages: 199


There is, perhaps, a better excuse for giving an Anthol-
ogy of American Negro Poetry to the public than can be
offered for many of the anthologies that have recently
been issued. The public, generally speaking, does not
know that there are American Negro poets — to supply
this lack of information Is, alone, a work worthy of some-
body's effort.
A people may become great through many means, but
there is only one measure by which its greatness is recog-
nized and acknowledged. The final measure of the great-
ness of all peoples is the amount and standard of the
literature and art they have produced. The world does
not know that a people Is great until that people pro-
duces great literature and art. No people that has pro-
duced great literature and art has ever been looked upon
by the world as distinctly Inferior.
The status of the Negro In the United States Is more
a question of national mental attitude toward the race
than of actual conditions. And nothing will do more
to change that mental attitude and raise his status than
a demonstration of Intellectual parity by the Negro
through the production of literature and art.

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