Women of the Harlem Renaissance – 4
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Jessie Redmon Fauset. Photo courtesy Britannica.com

Poet Langston Hughes dubbed Jessie Redmon Fauset the "Midwife of the Harlem Renaissance" for her work in nurturing a generation of young black writers. Fauset said her poem “Oriflamme” was inspired by her mentor Soujourner Truth.

Soujourner Truth. Photo courtesy Blackpast.com

"I can remember when I was a little, young girl, how my old mammy would sit out of doors in the evenings and look up at the stars and groan, and I would say, ‘Mammy, what makes you groan so?’ And she would say, ‘I am groaning to think of my poor children; they do not know where I be and I don’t know where they be. I look up at the stars and they look up at the stars!’"—Sojourner Truth  

Hands. Photo courtesy Flickr.com

Oriflamme By Jessie Redmon Fauset
I think I see her sitting bowed and black,
Stricken and seared with slavery’s mortal scars,
Reft of her children, lonely, anguished, yet
Still looking at the stars.
Symbolic mother, we thy myriad sons,
Pounding our stubborn hearts on Freedom’s bars
Clutching our birthright, fight with faces set,
Still visioning the stars!
From The Crisis, 1920