In Africa little black boys, “human brooms,” are sent before the explorers into jungle grasses that tower many feet to tread down a path and meet sometimes the lurking leopard or hyena. They are called Dew-Driers.
Brother to the firefly-For as the firefly lights the night,
So lights he the morning-Bathed in the dank dews as he goes forth
Through heavy menace and mystery of half waking tropic dawn,
Behold a little back boy, A naked black boy,
Sweeping aside with his slight frame night’s pregnant tears,
And making a morning path to the light for the tropic traveler!
Bathed in the blood of battle, treading toward a new morning,
May not his race, its body long bared
To the world’s disdain, its face schooled to smile for a light to come,
Light onward men’s minds toward a time when tolerance, forbearance
Such as reigned in the heart was gold, shall shape the earth for that fresh dawning after the dews of blood???
Reprinted by permission of Effie Lee Newsome.