Poem: “Time To Die” by Raymond G. Dandridge

0 Posted by - February 1, 2021 - Black Culture, Black History, LATEST POSTS, Poems

Raymond Garfield Dandridge was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1882 and died there on February 24, 1930. He finished elementary school and found work as a porter at the local YMCA while continuing to study for his High School Diploma at Hughes Center High School at night.

He was an active young in sports until he was disabled in 1911 at the age of 29. It is uncertain whether his subsequent paralysis was caused by a stroke or by polio but he lost the use of both legs and his right arm. He taught himself to write right-handed and subsequently published a number of books of poetry.


Time To Die

Black brother, think you life so sweet
That you would live at any price?
Does mere existence balance with
The weight of your great sacrifice?
Or can it be you fear the grave
Enough to live and die a slave?
O Brother! be it better said,
When you are gone and tears are shed,
That your death was the stepping stone
Your children’s children cross’d upon.
Men have died that men might live:
Look every foeman in the eye!
If necessary, your life give
For something, ere in vain you die.


  • Kenneth Highsmith March 16, 2018 - 10:20 am

    This poem is relevant for discussion among black men considering the tense racial climate that still exist today.

  • Isaiah Ellison March 16, 2018 - 11:34 am

    I love this poem because it deals with a very serious question that lingers in the mind of almost every black man and woman. Is living the life that I am made live in this world worth more than my death? Am more afraid to die that I am to live as a second class citizen? Will I be willing to give more of myself to the causes of black folks if I was not afraid to die. What about my kids? My wife? My family? My life?

    • Essie Glover February 1, 2021 - 9:43 am

      My favorite time of the year when I get all this good Black History information. Thank You

      • Adelaide Solomon-Jordan February 1, 2021 - 10:04 am

        Dear Essie,

        Just think about how you could have a whole “favorite time” all year! I don’t take a day off being Black! Somehow each of us makes history every day.

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