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Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
— Langston Hughes, excerpt from “Let America Be America Again,” written in 1925
Nearly a hundred years ago, a black American wrote a poem with this conclusion. Graft? Stealth? Lies? It could be ripped from today’s headlines. Yes, Mr. Hughes, once again, let America be America again.