Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too?, by Langston Hughes

Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too?

            Over There,            World War II.
Dear Fellow Americans,I write this letterHoping times will be betterWhen this warIs through.I'm a Tan-skinned YankDriving a tank.I ask, WILL V-DAYBE ME-DAY, TOO?
I wear a U. S. uniform.I've done the enemy much harm,I've driven backThe Germans and the Japs,From Burma to the Rhine.On every battle line,I've dropped defeatInto the Fascists' laps.
I am a Negro AmericanOut to defend my landArmy, Navy, Air Corps—I am there.I take munitions through,I fight—or stevedore, too.I face death the same as you do Everywhere.
I've seen my buddy lyingWhere he fell.I've watched him dyingI promised him that I would tryTo make our land a landWhere his son could be a man—And there'd be no Jim Crow birdsLeft in our sky.
So this is what I want to know:When we see Victory's glow,Will you still let old Jim CrowHold me back?When all those foreign folks who've waited—Italians, Chinese, Danes—are liberated.Will I still be ill-fatedBecause I'm black?
Here in my own, my native land,Will the Jim Crow laws still stand?Will Dixie lynch me stillWhen I return?Or will you comrades in armsFrom the factories and the farms,Have learned what this warWas fought for us to learn?
When I take off my uniform,Will I be safe from harm—Or will you do meAs the Germans did the Jews?When I've helped this world to save,Shall I still be color's slave?Or will Victory changeYour antiquated views?
You can't say I didn't fightTo smash the Fascists' might.You can't say I wasn't with youin each battle.As a soldier, and a friend.When this war comes to an end,Will you herd me in a Jim Crow carLike cattle?
Or will you stand up like a manAt home and take your standFor Democracy?That's all I ask of you.When we lay the guns awayTo celebrateOur Victory DayWILL V-DAY BE ME-DAY, TOO?That's what I want to know.
            Sincerely,                GI Joe.

poems.one - Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes