One of the participants at Friday's session of our first round read us Paul Lawrence Dunbar's classic poem, "We Wear the Mask," which seemed to tie in well with the discussion of Invisible Man.
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over–wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
And here is the late, great Maya Angelou reading Dunbar's poem in combination with her own "For Old Black Men":