James Monroe Whitfield

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James Monroe Whitfield was born in New Hampshire and probably attended school there. However at some stage before 1840 he moved to Buffalo and began work as a barber. He probably stayed as a barber for the rest of his life to fund his writing as there were few other oppurtunities for black men in that period. Frederick Douglass encouraged Whitfield to give up this menial job but this evidentally ... more »

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Best Poem of James Monroe Whitfield

Yes! Strike Again That Sounding String

Yes! strike again that sounding string,
And let the wildest numbers roll;
Thy song of fiercest passion sing -
It breathes responsive to my soul!


A soul, whose gentlest hours were nursed,
In stern adversity's dark way,
And o'er whose pathway never burst
One gleam of hope's enlivening ray.


If thou wouldst soothe my burning brain,
Sing not to me of joy and gladness;
'T will but increase the raging pain,
And turn the fever into madness.


Sing not to me of landscapes bright,
Of fragrant flowers and fruitful trees -
Of azure skies ...

Read the full of Yes! Strike Again That Sounding String