African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Carrie Williams Clifford, "Shall We Fight The Jim Crow Car?" (1911)

Comes the question, loud, insistent.
Borne upon the winds afar,
In the ears of black men ringing —
'Shall we fight the Jim Crow car?"

Mounts the hot blood to the forehead,
Angry passions leap to life
At remembered wrongs committed
'Gainst a mother, sister, wife.

And the milk of human kindness
In the proud heart turns to gall:
Is not every hand against them,
Every ear deaf to their call?

Disregarded all entreaties,
Stern protests unheeded are;
Impotent words or achievements,
To remove the color-bar.

Shall such base, unworthy treatment
Be by brave men tamely borne
And the title "Non-resistant,"
As a badge of honor worn?

No; by heaven, they swear it, swear it!
List ye, farthest glitt'ring star.
Ten thousand black men shout in chorus,
"We will fight the Jim Crow car."

Published in Race Rhymes, 1911

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