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

Leslie Pinckney Hill, "Jim Crow" (1910 / 1922)

Jim Crow

BY what dread logic, by what grand neglect,
Wide as our nation, doth this relic last
This relic of old sterile customs past
Long since into deep shame without respect?

Even I whom this contrivance fain would teach
A low submission, pray within my soul
That these my masters may not reap the dole
Of finding remedy beyond their reach.

In lofty mood I mount the reeking box,
And travel through the land. So Terence once
Moved in old Rome, so — wondrous paradox
Moved Esop in old Greece, the dwarf and dunce,
Then I reflect how their immortal wit
Makes the world laugh with mockery of it.

Published in Cleveland Gazette, November 12, 1910
Also published in Wings of Oppression1921

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