May 23, 2020


Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 1825-1911
I don't often read poetry per se mostly because I don't necessarily like a lot of it. However, every once in a while, I come across one that moves me. Bury Me In A Free Land written by abolitionist, activist, author and poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper is one such poem. Perhaps the depths to which it moves me has to do with the horrific truth from which it's derived. In honor of Mrs Frances Ellen Watkins Harper who lived till the age of 82, I share her words...

Bury Me in a Free Land
By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 

Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill; 
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.

I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.

I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.

I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.

I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.

If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

To read more on Frances E.W. Harperg go to,


  1. This is new to me, I've never heard of Francis Ellen Watkins Harper until now. I'm very glad to learn about her and her poem here. Thanks for sharing this.

    Wishing you all the best!

    1. She was quite the woman, activist. She also authored and published her noveL called, LOLA LEROY it also goes by LOLA LEROY - SHADOWS UPLIFTED.

  2. I just read a Wikipedia page about Trinidad. There was a section about slavery and abolition. I can imagine myself feeling angry seeing those expressing entitlement... I mean entitlement attitudes among those who are descended from and benefit from standing on the generations of shoulders of others whose ancestors used slavery while building their wealth.

    1. Hmmmmmmm...
      Unfortunately that kind of Entitlement is a disease that has infected many and is their "norm"


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