Tag Archives: Poem

Black History Month: Words for the Hour


Black History Month: Frances Harper—Words for the Hour

Men of the North! it is no time
    To quit the battle-field; 
When danger fronts your rear and van 
    It is no time to yield. 

No time to bend the battle's crest 
    Before the wily foe, 
And, ostrich-like, to hide your heads 
    From the impending blow. 

The minions of a baffled wrong 
    Are marshalling their clan; 
Rise up! rise up enchanted North! 
    And strike for God and man.

This is no time for careless ease; 
    No time for idle sleep; 
Go light the fires in every camp, 
    And solemn sentries keep. 

The foe you foiled upon the field 
    Has only changed his base; 
New dangers crowd around you 
    And stare you in the face. 

O Northern men! within your hands 
    Is held no common trust; 
Secure the victories won by blood 
    When treason bit the dust. 

['T]is yours to banish from the land 
    Oppression's iron rule; 
And o'er the ruined auction block 
    Erect the common school. 

To wipe from labor's branded brow 
    The curse that shamed the land, 
And teach the Freedman how to wield 
    The ballot in his hand. 

This is the nation's golden hour, 
    Nerve every heart and hand, 
To build on Justice as a rock, 
    The future of the land. 

True to your trust, oh, never yield 
    One citadel of right! 
With Truth and Justice clasping hands 
    Ye yet shall win the fight!

In celebration of Black History Month, we will post an inspirational cultural item each day.