James Whitfield, poet

James Whitfield was born in New Hampshire in 1822. He was educated in New York city. By 1938, Whitfiled was an avowed emigrationist. He settled in Buffalo, New York where he was employed as a barber.

by James Whitfield

America, it is to thee.
Thou boasted land of liberty,
It is to thee I raise my song,
Thou land of blood, and crime, and wrong,
It is to thee my native land,
From which has issued many a band
To tear the black man from his soil,
And force him here to delve and toil,
. . . Was it for this that wealth and life
Were black and white fought side by side,
Upon the well-contested field, . . .
And made the proud invader yield.

During a visit to Whitfiled's barber shop, Frederick Douglass said of Whitfield, "the malignant arrangements of socity has chained him in the barber shop."

Whitfield was an organizer of

In a letter to call the 1954



Joan R. Sherman, James Monroe Whitfield, Poet and Emigrationist: A Voice of Protest and Despair, The Journal of Negro Histoy 57 (April 1972), 169-176.

Richard Barksdale and Kenneth Kinnamon, Black Writers in America (New York 1972), 222-223.

Lillian S. Williams, Strangers in the Land of Paradise, The Creation of an African American Community, Buffalo, New York 1900-1940, Indiana University Press, Blomington, Indiana 1999.