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The Black Man's Burden Summary & Analysis
by H. T. Johnson

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The clergyman H. T. Johnson wrote "The Black Man's Burden" in 1899 as a response to Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden," which was published the same year. Kipling's poem makes the racist argument that white people have a moral responsibility to conquer and dominate nonwhite nations. With this in mind, the speaker of "The Black Man's Burden" points out that subjugating other nonwhite populations will only add to the American history of oppression and racism. All in all, then, the poem critiques imperialist policies based on tyranny and oppression, connecting this worldview to the continued subjection of Black people in the U.S.

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