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

Rev. Walter H. Brooks, "The 'Jim Crow' Car" (1900)

This too is done to crush me,
But naught can keep us back;
‘My place,’ forsooth, a section
‘Twixt’ smoker, front and back,

While others ride in coaches
Full large and filled with light,
And this our Southern Christians
Insist is just and right

There Yellow man from China,
And Red man from the plain,
Are seated with the White man,
But I could not remain.

However clean my person,
My linen and my life,
They snarl: “Your k-yar ahead, Jim,
Go thar and take, your wife.”

We’re singled out from the others,
A mark for shafts of scorn,
Here huddled, like tamed cattle,
From early night till morn;

The golden rule’s rejected,
Who cares for such a thing?
Do they whose prejudice o’er race
Inflict this bitter sting?

This insult almost kills me —
God, help me bear the wrong,
Well, mine’s the story of the weak
Who falls before the strong;

Who fall--to rise in triumph,
When God his sword shall gird.
And the proudest evil doer
Shall tremble at His word.

Published in The Richmond Planet, September 15, 1900

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