Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
The Negro Schools
Please be silent now, my country, while I fill the speaker's place;
While I point out some abuses that we constantly embrace,
Listen with your best attention to the words that I shall say,
How the Negro schools are managed, in this Commonwealth today.
All the officers are white men and together they conspire,
To undo the schools for Negroes, of such deeds they never tire;
Oft we find among the trustees men who cannot read a word,
But when speaking of the Negro, they are certain to be heard.
Education for the Negro they discourage, and they say,
'It will bring dissatisfaction to such people ev'ry day,
Make them crave for something higher, such as white men should enjoy,
Which will spoil the other Negroes that we have in our employ.'
Shorter terms are recommended many times as low as two
Are the months to Negroes given, in a year—now this is true,
Longer terms the whites are given in the same communities—
They conform to such a standard of the right with perfect ease.
Poorer pay to Negro teachers, driving good ones from the field,
Schools are let to lowest bidders to the same they're forced to yield,
Higher pay and better teachers for the white schools is the cry.
While encouragement is given Negro schools to starve and die.
Rural libraries established for the whites on ev'ry side,
But when application's made for Negro schools it is denied,
Thus they deal with education for the mass of Negro youth,
Posing still as great exponents and conservers of the truth.
From the sword of fierce Goliath we may all a lesson learn,
How while planning death to others on your head it may return,
In regard to schools for Negroes, cease their welfare to neglect,
For the same will come upon you in a way you least expect.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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