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.