I Am Resolved

Image: W. E. B. Dubois. (1903) The Negro Problem, Project Gutenberg. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/15041/15041-h/15041-h.htm#The_Talented_Tenth

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I am resolved in this New Year to play the man — to stand straight, look the world squarely in the eye, and walk to my work with no shuffle or slouch

I am resolved to be satisfied with no treatment which ignores my manhood and my right to be counted as one among men.

I am resolved to be quiet and law abiding, but to refuse to cringe in body or in soul, to resent deliberate insult, and to assert my just rights in the face of wanton aggression.

I am resolved to defend and assert the absolute equality of the Negro race with any and all other human races and its divine right to equal and just treatment.

I am resolved to be ready at all times and in all places to bear witness with pen, voice, money and deed against the horrible crime of lynching and of Jim Crow legislation, the injustice of all color discrimination, the wrong of disfranchisement for race for sex, the iniquity of war under any circumstances and the deep damnation of present methods of distributing the world’s work and wealth.

I am resolved to defend the poor and the weak of every race and hue, and especially to guard my mother, my wife, my daughter and all my darker sisters from the insults and aggressions of white men and black, with the last strength of my body and the last suffering of my soul.

For all these things, I am resolved unflinchingly to stand, and if this resolve cost me pain, poverty, slander and even life itself, I will remember the Word of the Prophet, how he sang:

“Though love repine and reason chafe,
There can a voice, without reply,
’Tis man’s Perdition to be safe
When for the Truth he ought to die!”

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