GEORGE MARION McCLELLAN, 1902 African American Negro Genealogy


TYPE: Antique Photograph

Date published:1902

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GEORGE MARION McCLELLAN, The objection is often raised against schools of higher education for the Negro race that these people need instruction, not in Latin, history, geometry and moral science, but in scientific farming and geometric bed making. The leaven of truth in this assertion makes a plump denial hard to return; while its leaven of error is a reminder of the old antislavery assumption that till the end of time the Negro must be a hewer of wood and drawer of water, with no mental life to speak of. This error is best confuted by proof of the race’s actually wide range of Intellectual demands, imaginative sympathies, moral questionings; and for this reason, if for no other, one thanks Mr. George Marion McClellan for venturing on the publication of his verses. This gentleman is a graduate of Fisk University, as he tells us in the interesting and modest preface to his volume. Thus he belongs to the first generation since the War. His parents, he indicates, were slaves, and his early home was upon the Highland Rimof Tennessee, amid the poverty of a Freedman father’s little farm. These things well weighed, the refined love of nature, the purity of sentiment, the large philosophy, the delicacy of expression which his poems display, are sufficiently marvelous. One must, perhaps, deny him the title of poetin these days when verse writers are many. His ear for rhythm is fatally defective, while, so far as one may judge from the few dates appended to the poems, the later productions seem not to be the best. Nevertheless, his little volume stimulates to large reviews and fair anticipations. It Is a far cry from Swing low, sweet chariot-an articulate stirring of poetic fancy, but hardly more than that to Mr. MeClellan’s September Night in Mississippi.


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