Angelina Weld Grimké

To the Dunbar High School

Volume 16:1, January 2015
Sonnet Issue

To the Dunbar High School: A Sonnet

And she shall be the friend of youth for aye:
Of quick’ning youth whose eyes have seen the gleam;
Of youth between whose tears and laughter stream:
Bright bows of hope; of youth, audacious, gay,
Who dares to know himself a Caesar, say,
A Shakespeare or a Galahad.  The dream
To him is real; and things are as they seem,
For beauty veils from him the feet of clay.
How holy and how wonderful her trust–
Youth’s friend, and yes, how blest.  For down the west
Each day shall go the sun, and time in time
Shall die, the unborn shall again be dust;
But she with youth eternal on her breast,
Immortal, too, shall sit serene, sublime.


Angelina Weld Grimké (February 27, 1880—June 10, 1958) was born in Boston to a biracial family. Not long after Grimké's birth, her parents separated and her mother later committed suicide. Grimké was sent to live in DC with her aunt and uncle, Charlotte Forten and Rev. Frances Grimké, from age 14 to 18. After graduating from college in Boston, her father, Archibald Grimké, a lawyer, relocated to DC with his daughter. From 1902 to 1916, Grimké taught at Armstrong Manual Training School, and from 1916 until her retirement in 1926, she taught at Dunbar High School, both DC Public Schools. Grimké's essays, short fiction, and stories were published in journals (The Crisis, Opportunity) and anthologies (The New Negro, Caroling Dusk, Negro Poets and Their Poems). Her play, Rachel, was produced in 1916 and published in 1920, making her one of the earliest published African American playwrights. To read more about this author: "Angelina Weld Grimké" by Rebecca Villarreal (Memorial Issue, Fall 2003)