New Orleans: Xavier University Press, 1941. First edition. Octavo, original charcoal paper boards lettered in yellow over cloth spine, original dust jacket. Christmas presentation inscription (1943) to blank flyleaf. Upper corner boards slightly bumped, short closed tears, tiny pinhole and gentle toning to bright, unclipped jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #994
"THE COLORED YOUTH OF XAVIER UNIVERSITY ARE SINGERS OF THAT INSPIRED FREEDOM WHEREWITH CHRIST HAS MADE US FREE" First edition of this collection of poetry from New Orleans's Xavier University—"America's First Catholic College for Colored Youth." Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, this anthology was published by Xavier's university press and "respectfully and gratefully dedicated" to the Reverend Mother M. Katharine Drexel: "foundress of Xavier University and to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament established by her." Born into one America's wealthiest families, "Katharine Drexel's concern extended to those outside the church, indeed to those all but excluded from American society—namely, Indians and blacks" (Robert Ellsberg). This copy retains the bright original dust jacket (titled: "Arrows of Gold from the Deep South") illustrated by contributor Charles B. Rousseve. The text, bracketed with stanzas from Longfellow's poem "The Arrow and the Song," includes Acknowledgements and an Introductory Note by the editor, Peter Wellington Clark, an alumni of the university. Clark contributes several poems, including 'Crispus Attucks,' a tribute to the slave martyr of the Boston Massacre and 'Historic Episodes,' which summons images of Toussaint Louverture, John Brown, Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, Paul Dunbar, and Christ on the Cross of Calvary. The rear inner flap of the dust jacket features a blurb by Sister M. Madeleva: "The colored youth of Xavier University are singers of that inspired freedom wherewith Christ has made us free." The volume is additionally illustrated with the engraved seal of the university on the title page and a reproduction of an early exterior view of the university. Mother Drexel was the primary financial sponsor at the founding of Xavier University but "her charitable works did little directly to challenge the structures of racism and and discrimination. But in the era of rigidly enforced racial segregation her work had a profound 'witness value" (Robert Ellsberg). Ellsberg. All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time.