Strong Men

        The young men keep coming on
        The strong men keep coming on,


They dragged you from homeland,
They chained you in coffles,
They huddled you spoon-fashion in filthy hatches,
They so1d you to give a few gentlemen ease.

They broke you in like oxen,
They scourged you,
They branded you,
They made your women breeders,
They swelled your numbers with bastards. . . .
They taughl you the religion they disgraced.

You Sang:
    Keep a-inchin'along
    Lak a po'inch worm.

You sang:
    Bye and bye
    Im gonna lay down di5 heaby load.

You sang:
    Walk logedder, chillen,
    Donicha gil weary. . . .
        The strong men keep a-cornin' on
        The strong men git stronger.

They point with pride to the roads you built for them,
They ride in comfort over the rails you laid for them.
They pul hammers in your hanas
And said-Drive so much before sundown.

You sang:

    Ain'l no hammah
    In dis lan ',
        Strikes lak mine, bebby,
        Strikes lak mine.

They cooped you in their kilchens,
They penned you in their laclories,
They gave you the jobs that they were too good for,
They tried to guarantee happiness to themselves
By shunting dirl and misery to you.

You sang:
     Me an' muh baby gonna shine, shine
     Me an' muh baby gonna shine.

        The strong men keep a-cornin' on
        The strong men git stronger. . . .

They bought off some of your leaders
You slumbled, as blind men will . . .
They coaxed you, unwonledly soll-voiced. . . .
You followed a way.
Then laughed as usual.

They heard the laugh and wondered;
Unadmitting a deeper terror.

        The strong men keep a-cornin', on
        Gittin' stronger. . . .

What, from the slums
Where they have hemmed you,
What, from the tiny huts
They could not keep from you
What reaches them
Making them ill at ease, fearful?
Today they shout prohibition at you
"Thou shalt not this"
"Thou shalt not that"
"Reserved for whites only"
You laugh.

One thing they cannot prohibit-
        The strong men . . . corning on
        The strong men gittin' stronger.
        Strong men ....
        Stronger ....