Timothy Thomas Fortune was an orator, civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher. He was the highly influential editor of the nation’s leading black newspaper The New York Age and was the leading economist in the black community.
Fortune was the “Dean of Negro Editors” and the “Prince of Negro Journalists” in America, known for pushing the term “Afro-American” into common usage. Fortune agitated for African-American rights, calling for white society to be held accountable for racial prejudice and demanding restitution for crimes against black people.
The Mocking Bird
by Timothy Thomas Fortune
Have you e’er heard, at early morn,
The feathered poet sing his song,
Clear as a huntsman’s clarion horn,
Yet softer, sweeter, and as strong?
Have you e’er felt his magic power
Soothe, as a balm, your troubled breast,
Change into mirth the gloomy hour,
Cradle th’ enchanted sense to rest?
Have you e’er heard in native bowers
The mocking bird’s angelic lay,
In Summer’s home, the “Land of Flowers,”
Where cooling streams refresh the way?
I’ve roamed the woods from morn till night
In that delicious Summer clime—
For there my eyes first saw the light,
There kissed I first the cheek of Time!
I’ve heard the feathered poet sing—
Electrify the peace around—
Make the wild echoes gladsome ring—
With melody’s divinest sound.
The wild flowers all about in bloom—
The nodding pine—the winding stream—
The orange blossoms’ sweet perfume—
Ah! was it not a blissful dream?