Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
Lynching - Poem by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
Have you ever heard of lynching in the great United States?
'Tis an awful, awful story that the Negro man relates,
How the mobs the laws have trampled, both the human and divine,
In their killing helpless people as their cruel hearts incline.
Not the heathen! 'Tis the Christian with the Bible in his hand,
Stands for pain and death to tyrannize the weaklings of the land;
Not the red man nor the Spaniard kills the blacks of Uncle Sam,
'Tis the white man of the nation who will lunch the sons of Ham.
To a limb upon the highway does a Negro's body hang,
Riddled with a hundred bullets from the bloody, thirsty gang;
Law and order thus defying, and there's none to say them nay.
"Thus," they say, to keep their power, "Negroes must be kept at bay."
How his back is lacerated! how the scene is painted red,
By the blood of one poor Negro till he numbers with the dead!
Listen to the cry of anguish from a soul that God has made,
But it fails to reach the pity of the demons in the raid.
To a tree we find the Negro and to him a chain beside,
There a horse to it is fastened and the whip to him applied.
Thus he pulls the victim's body till it meets a dying fate,
And to history is given a new scandal to relate.
Limb from limb he's torn asunder! See the savage lynchers grin!
Then the flesh is cut in pieces and the souvenirs begin;
Each must have the piece allotted for the friends at home to see,
Relatives will cluster round him, laughing, dancing, filled with glee.
To a stake they bind the Negro, pile the trash around him high,
Make the fire about his body; it is thus that he must die.
Burn him slowly, hear the lynchers: "That's the part we most enjoy!
Tell it out in all the nation how we killed a Negro boy!"
Savage mob a Negro's chasing, and to catch him must not fail;
If it does, another's taken, there to force from him the tale
Where the fleeing man is hiding; if the facts he cannot raise,
Though his innocence protesting, for the same by death he pays.
"'Tis a Negro's blood we're craving; such will have at any cost;
We must lynch the one in keeping, for the other one is lost!"
This they say, and when they're questioned answer like this is the why,
"To the race at large a warning here a Negro man shall die!"
O, how brave the Southern white man when, a hundred men to one,
Lynch a lone, defenceless Negro, when each lyncher has a gun.
If at midnight or the noonday, the result is all the same,
Law is powerless to hinder, and the nation shares the blame.
Lynchers go into the Senate and their savagery uphold,
How they shoot and butcher Negroes is the story that is told.
Guns and ropes they have in plenty, and, if necessary, will
Use them on an office holder, such a Negro they must kill.
How they clamor for the Philippines and Cubans far away,
While a worse thing is transpiring in this country every day.
In the eyes of such law-breakers lives a beam of greatest size,
That will hinder all the pulling of the mote from others' eyes.
Are the candidates for lynching always found among the men?
No, the fiends of human torture lynch a woman now and then.
Yea, the Spanish Inquisition insignificant will pale,
When compared with such atrocities that in the South prevail!
'Tis a blot on Christian manhood time, itself, cannot erase;
Human blood upon the conscience centuries cannot efface.
Simply to suspect a Negro is sufficient for the band,
He must die without a hearing, in a boasted gospel land.
Sowing antedates the reaping, and the nation should beware,
That the sowers to the wind will reap the whirlwind everywhere.
Hark the cry! the blood of Negroes cries for vengeance from the dust!
How I tremble for the nation when I think that God is just!
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