Jim Crow Cars
If within the cruel Southland you have chanced to take a ride,
You the Jim Crow cars have noticed, how they crush a Negro's pride,
How he pays a first class passage and a second class receives,
Gets the worst accommodations ev'ry friend of truth believes.
'Tis the rule that all conductors, in the service of the train,
Practice gross discriminations on the Negro—such is plain—
If a drunkard is a white man, at his mercy Negroes are,
Legalized humiliation is the Negro Jim Crow car.
'Tis a license given white men, they may go just where they please,
In the white man's car or Negro's will they move with perfect ease,
If complaint is made by Negroes the conductor will go out
Till the whites are through carousing, then he shows himself about.
They will often raise a riot, butcher up the Negroes there,
Unmolested will they quarrel, use their pistols,rant and swear,
They will smoke among the ladies though offensive the cigar;
'Tis the place to drink their whiskey, in the Negro Jim Crow car.
If a Negro shows resistance to his treatment by a tough,
At some station he's arrested for the same, though not enough,
He is thrashed or lynched or tortured as will please the demon's rage,
Mobbed, of course, by 'unknown parties,' thus is closed the darkened page.
If a lunatic is carried, white or black, it is the same,
Or a criminal is taken to the prison-house in shame,
In the Negro car he's ushered with the sheriff at his side,
Out of deference for white men in their car he scorns to ride.
We despise a Negro's manhood, says the Southland, and expect,
All supremacy for white men—black men's rights we'll not protect,
This the Negro bears with patience for the nation bows to might,
Wrong has borne aloft its colors disregarding what is right.
This is called a Christian nation, but we fail to understand,
How the teachings of the Bible can with such a system band;
Purest love that knows no evil can alone the story tell,
How to banish such abuses, how to treat a neighbor well.
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Comments about this poem (Retribution by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer )
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