Will V – Day Be Me – Day Too – Langston Hughes

Over There,World War II.
Dear Fellow Americans,

I write this letter

Hoping times will be better

When this war

Is through.

I’m a Tan-skinned Yank

Driving a tank.

I ask, WILL V-DAY

BE ME-DAY, TOO?
I wear a U. S. uniform.

I’ve done the enemy much harm,

I’ve driven back

The Germans and the Japs,

From Burma to the Rhine.

On every battle line,

I’ve dropped defeat

Into the Fascists’ laps.
I am a Negro American

Out to defend my land

Army, Navy, Air Corps–

I am there.

I take munitions through,

I fight–or stevedore, too.

I face death the same as you do 

Everywhere.
I’ve seen my buddy lying

Where he fell.

I’ve watched him dying

I promised him that I would try

To make our land a land

Where his son could be a man–

And there’d be no Jim Crow birds

Left in our sky.
So this is what I want to know:

When we see Victory’s glow,

Will you still let old Jim Crow

Hold me back?

When all those foreign folks who’ve waited–

Italians, Chinese, Danes–are liberated.

Will I still be ill-fated

Because I’m black?
Here in my own, my native land,

Will the Jim Crow laws still stand?

Will Dixie lynch me still

When I return?

Or will you comrades in arms

From the factories and the farms,

Have learned what this war

Was fought for us to learn?
When I take off my uniform,

Will I be safe from harm–

Or will you do me

As the Germans did the Jews?

When I’ve helped this world to save,

Shall I still be color’s slave?

Or will Victory change

Your antiquated views?
You can’t say I didn’t fight

To smash the Fascists’ might.

You can’t say I wasn’t with you

in each battle.

As a soldier, and a friend.

When this war comes to an end,

Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car

Like cattle?
Or will you stand up like a man

At home and take your stand

For Democracy?

That’s all I ask of you.

When we lay the guns away

To celebrate

Our Victory Day

WILL V-DAY BE ME-DAY, TOO?

That’s what I want to know.
Sincerely,

GI Joe. 

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