A Dispute of Ownership

A slave was born, plantation property,
to join with mules, and till Virginia's ground.
Whipped and weary, lean, and always dirty,
the slave turned twenty-one. He cut and ran
with Harriet, as cargo, northern bound.
One day he woke all five-fifths of a man.

This free boy saw, for those souls still enslaved,
the Union Army gave a man the chance to fight,
(and maybe die!) He proved, where men behaved
like fiends, and primal truths were honored wrong,
free black men volunteered. Each one knew why
his boots marched south two hundred thousand strong.

William Carney, the one time captive grunt,
snatched up the colors when his sergeant fell,
and charged, to keep 'Old Glory' out in front.
And though he took four slugs, (one pierced his face!)
he waved that flag aloft. Unsoiled through hell,
he brought our banner home, in no disgrace.

Oh yeah, Bill was the first black soldier blessed
to earn his country's highest badge of praise.
For bravery, that medal decks his chest.
Distinguishing himself beyond the call,
he cleaved a path to which all souls may raise
belief, they too, can break oppression's wall