Written in the final year of World War I, Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s Mine Eyes Have Seen was published in The Crisis, a journal founded by W.E.B. Du Bois as a platform for the NAACP. In a manufacturing city somewhere in the Northern United States, an African-American family has been destroyed by violence and racism. A man was lynched and his wife died of heartbreak leaving their three children to fend for themselves. The children are now young adults, but Lucy, the youngest, and Dan, the oldest, are disabled and relient on their brother, Chris, to support them. When Chris comes home from work with the news that he has been drafted, their livelihood is in jeopardy. However, Chris decides he must stay to support his siblings and, on top of that, he doesn’t want to serve a country that has done nothing but beat down and destroy his people--the black citizens of America. Dan vehemently disagrees with Chris’s decision and when their Jewish friend, an Irish widow, a veteran of the war, Chris’s sweetheart, and a settlement worker show up to their home, the discussion intensifies as they all give their opinions regarding race and duty to one’s country.
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