Cedric Dover

Cedric Dover

Volume 27, Issue 2 (2012)
pages 56-57
DOI: 10.1080/02690055.2012.662322

Cedric Dover was born in Calcutta in 1904. Dover’s mixed ancestry (English father, Indian mother) and his studies in zoology led to a strong interest in ethnic minorities and their marginalisation. After his studies, he joined the Zoological Survey of India as a temporary assistant entomologist. He also wrote several scientific articles and edited the Eurasian magazine New Outlook.

Dover settled in London In 1934 to continue his anthropological studies on issues of race. He published Half-Caste in 1937, followed by Hell in the Sunshine (1943). During the 1940s Dover contributed regularly to the BBC Indian Section of the Eastern Service alongside many other British-based South Asians. There he befriended George Orwell, in 1947 he published Feathers in the Arrow: An Approach for Coloured Writers and Readers. Dover moved to the United States in the same year and took up a range of visiting academic posts. He was a member of the faculty of Fisk University, as Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology. He also briefly lectured at the New School of Social Research, New York, and Howard University. Dover held a lifelong interest in African-American art, culture and literature and his influential book American Negro Art was published in 1960. Dover returned to London in the late 1950s. He continued to lecture and write on minority issues and culture until his death in 1961.

A Note on the Text

These poems were first published in Brown Phoenix (London; College Press. 1950).

Brown Phoenix

I am the brown phoenix
Fused in the flames
Of the centuries’ greed.

I am tomorrow’s man
Offering to share
Love, and the difficult quest,
In the emerging plan.

Do you see a dark man
Whose mind you shun,
Whose heart you never know,
Unable to understand
That I am the golden bird
With destiny clear?
Fools cannot destroy me
With arrogant fear.

Listen brown man, black man,
Yellow man, mongrel man,
And you white friend and comrade:
I am the brown phoenix—I am you.

‘There is my symbol for us all.’

For we are tomorrow’s men,
But not you,
Little pinkwhite man,
Not you!

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