A Notable Dinner
Once the nation's chief was honored by the company of one,
Who to lift a fallen people had a work of worth begun,
Lofty things had he accomplished for a race so long despised,
In a land where naught but color by the whites are ever prized.
Booker Washington, the teacher, with the president has dined,
Southern whites it gave convulsions, for to such they're not inclined,
'Tis the color, not achievements, that their fancies recognize,
Whites alone receive their plaudits, Negro worth they will not prize.
Roosevelt was censured sorely, half the country writhed and hissed,
Just because he shared his dinner with a Negro—there's the gist—
'Twas the manhood not the color that the president admired,
Souls of worth demand attention, only such his mind desired.
'Down with Washington the 'nigger' and with Roosevelt, because
He has made of him an equal—how offensive to our laws,
Worthy deeds are not for black men' is the constant cry they raise,
'All advancement of such people brings proportionate dispraise.'
Hark! the press begins to clamor, to the South it says 'beware!
Lest equality with 'niggers' in the end we'll have to share;
Anti-nigger is our platform, how to crush a 'nigger' man,
Officers must be elected as resulting from this plan.'
Washington is far above him—-any man who fails to see,
Good when found upon a Negro, from a lack of charity,
See the Southern degradation! view the monster once again,
How it measures deeds of merit by the color of the skin.
Roosevelt was very careful on the choosing of a guest,
Here is what he did for Tillman, in his zeal to have the best,
Cancelled out his invitation and his company refused,
Dined the best of peoples only—other classes he excused.
Down with prejudice and envy! should be wafted to the breeze,
For the Southern slaves of fashion need a prompt and sure release,
In the teachings of the Master while the path of earth He trod,
We've a brotherhood of races and a Fatherhood of God.
Comments about this poem (A Notable Dinner by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer )
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