(Norwalk, Connecticut): Silvermine Publishers, (1970). Single volume, measuring 8.25 x 5 inches: , , 12-106. Original cream cloth lettered in black, original unclipped typographic dust jacket printed in red, white, and blue. Signed by Pauli Murray on preliminary blank. Light shelfwear to jacket with partial splits at flap folds.
Signed first edition of legal activist and civil rights pioneer Pauli Murray’s only book of poetry. Dark Testament collects lyrics written over four decades, including the long title poem, a history of Black life in America from the Middle Passage to the twentieth century: “Put it all down in a time capsule, / Bury it deep in the soil of Virginia, / Bury slave-song with the Constitution, / Bury it in that vineyard of planters / And poll-taxers, sharecroppers, and Presidents.” In her memoir, Song in a Weary Throat, Murray recalls the process of writing “Dark Testament” (originally titled “Dark Anger”) in the early 1940s: “When the poem was completed, I felt as if a demon had been exorcised and a terrible fever inside me had been broken.” Dark Testament would be reissued in 2018 with a new introduction by poet Elizabeth Alexander. A very good copy of the first edition, scarce signed.