"Colored People Allowed in This Car"

Dublin Core

Title

"Colored People Allowed in This Car"

Description

Indeed! this permission is worthy of praise:
You'll allow our dark brother to ride—if he pays,
Though, of course, we must seat him aloof and afar—
Swart night from blonde day has a separate car!—
On this "social distinction" no jeers I would call,
The wonder is this, we let BLACKS ride at all!
Where such innovations shall cease, who can say?
Perhaps, the next thing, we'll allow them to pray;
And the sexton of Grace, with a grace rather new,
Shall pocket their sixpence, and show them a pew!

By the way, I've a curious longing to know
How the races were classified ages ago:
I wonder if Noah—that primitive tar—
When he launched the vast hull of his water-way car,
Placed a notice outside, ere he "weighed" for the trip,
Permitting the colored to ride in his ship;
Or did a conductor mount guard in the ark,
Admitting light skins, and excluding the dark?
And I wonder if God, when the moon he unfurled,
Thought of placing a label like this on the world?
When he fashioned and grooved each orb in its place,
And the great solar train went whirling through space,
Was there placard affixed to planet or star
Like yonr "Colored people allowed in this car?"

There's an old-fashioned car, of a build rather queer,
Unadapted for comfort—damp, darksome, and drear—
And it starts from a depot perhaps you have seen,
Where the ivy grows rankly, the willow waves green;
It goes from our shores, but it comes not again—
All ranks and complexions are one on this train!
You start, my fair friend, I confess 'tis not right,
That the Ethiop race should thus sit with the white;
Ho! gather your shroud, and shrink to one side—
No need to converse, though together ye ride.
This train travels swift; at the first station star,
Perhaps they'll appoint you a separate car;
Or you may not complain—I doubt on the whole
If hue of the skin can give tint to the soul;
And 'twere better by far than no scorn shafts you fling—
Who knows what queer changes that morrow may bring?
Thus De Vere and old Sambo, my point to explain,
Might knock at St. Peter's, and both knock in vain;
Or it might someway hap—I'll give you the doubt—
That the one was admitted, the other ruled out;
And which were the favored is not very clear—
Sambo's worth might outbalance the blood of De Vere!

Ere we part, my fair friend, let me give you a hint,
Since you value yourself on your skin and its tint:
When you've taken this train which is waiting for you.
And the shores of eternity loom on your view,
You may just chance to stand the wrong side of the bar,
While your "colored" companion's "allowed in the car!"

Creator

C.H. WKBB.[?]

Source

1:50, p. 4

Date

6.30.1860

Contributor

From The Independent

Citation

C.H. WKBB.[?], “"Colored People Allowed in This Car",” Periodical Poets, accessed February 24, 2024, https://periodicalpoets.com/items/show/696.

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