McKay was born 1889 in Jamaica, when he came to America at the age of 23, to attend The Tuskegee Institute he began to write of the racism he encountered as a black immigrant. His viewpoints and poetic achievements are credited for helping set the tone for the Harlem Renaissance. He died in 1948.
AmericaAlthough she fees me bread of bitterness,And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,Giving me strength erect against her hate.Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,I stand within her walls with not a shredOf terror, malice, not a word of jeer,Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,And see her might and granite wonders there,Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.