April 30, 2011

“Worthy Ambition”

“Look to the heights that are worth your attaining
Keep your feet firm in the path to the goal.
Toward noble deeds every effort be straining.
Worthy ambition is food for the soul!” 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar

The LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail Working Group is devising a tagline for our trail. The trail, as we reported, is currently in the planning stages and should be completed in the coming months.

LeDroit Park was established in 1873 as an exclusive suburb of Washington City. When the demographics changed from exclusively white to majority black a century ago, the neighborhood gained the reputation as the home of Washington’s black intelligentsia.

The word ‘intelligentsia’ is a tad too elitist for a tagline, so we need other suggestions that politely, yet honestly, honor the neighborhood’s history.

One resident suggested a tagline we really like: “Worthy ambition”.

The phrase is aptly pulled from “Emancipation“, an 1890 poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, who resided for several years in LeDroit Park.

Fling out your banners, your honors be bringing,
Raise to the ether your paeans of praise.
Strike every chord and let music be ringing!
Celebrate freely this day of all days.

Few are the years since that notable blessing,
Raised you from slaves to the powers of men.
Each year has seen you my brothers progressing,
Never to sink to that level again.

Perched on your shoulders sits Liberty smiling,
Perched where the eyes of the nations can see.
Keep from her pinions all contact defiling;
Show by your deeds what you’re destined to be.

Press boldly forward nor waver, nor falter.
Blood has been freely poured out in your cause,
Lives sacrificed upon Liberty’s altar.
Press to the front, it were craven to pause.

Look to the heights that are worth your attaining
Keep your feet firm in the path to the goal.
Toward noble deeds every effort be straining.
Worthy ambition is food for the soul!

Up! Men and brothers, be noble, be earnest!
Ripe is the time and success is assured;
Know that your fate was the hardest and sternest
When through those lash-ringing days you endured.

Never again shall the manacles gall you
Never again shall the whip stroke defame!
Nobles and Freemen, your destinies call you
Onward to honor, to glory and fame.

It’s a fine work and an excellent way to capture the neighborhood’s ambitious history.

Categories: History, LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail
Tags:

1 Reply

  1. Very enjoyable reading, Bonnie, and though I’ve never quite thought of what we do before or after a spanking as rituals, I will now!!! And very enjoyable rituals they are to!!!*hugs*Tigger

    kreditkarte on schufa - October 19, 2016 @ 11:19 am

Leave a comment