A song for the unsung heroes who rose in the country’s need,
When the life of the land was threatened by the slaver’s cruel greed,
For the men who came from the cornfield, who came from the plough and the flail,
Who rallied round when they heard the sound of the mighty man of the rail.
They laid them down in the valleys, they laid them down in the wood,
And the world looked on at the work they did, and whispered, “It is good.”
They fought their way on the hillside, they fought their way in the glen,
And God looked down on their sinews brown, and said, “I have made them men.”
They went to the blue lines gladly, and the blue lines took them in,
And the men who saw their muskets’ fire thought not of their dusky skin.
The gray lines rose and melted beneath their scathing showers,
And they said, ”’T is true, they have force to do, these old slave boys of ours.”
Ah, Wagner saw their glory, and Pillow knew their blood,
A song for the unsung heroes who stood the awful test,
When the humblest host that the land could boast went forth to meet the best;
A song for the unsung heroes who fell on the bloody sod,
Who fought their way from night to day and struggled up to God.
The Unsung Heroes
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
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