My brother died in France—but I came back.
We were just two colored boys, brown and black,
Who joined up to fight for the U.S.A.
When the Nation called us that mighty day.
We were sent to training camp, then overseas—
And me and my brother were happy as you please
Thinking we were fighting for Democracy’s true reign
And that our dark blood would wipe away the stain
Of prejudice, and hate, and the false color line—
And give us the rights that are yours and mine.
They told us America would know no black or white:
So we marched to the front, happy to fight.
–Langston Hughes, The Colored Soldier (1919) in: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes pp. 147-48 (A. Rampersad ed. 1995).
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Ratio of children’s emergency-room visits for injuries related to fireworks last year to those related to “desk supplies”:
The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.
The Islamic State opened two new theme parks featuring a Ferris wheel, teacup rides, and bumper cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”