Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer Poems >>
The Eutawville Lynching

(July, 1904)

In the State of "Old Palmetto," from the town of Eutawville,
Comes a voice of pain and anguish that refuses to be still.
'Tis a voice that cries for vengeance for the wrongs it has received,
Yea, it asks a nation's conscience, When will justice be achieved?

'Twas a Negro and four white men that a fishing-party made,
In this party all the basis of a tragedy was laid,
One of them began a quarrel with the Negro of the crowd,
Told him not to think of justice, for to him 'twas disallowed.

Then they all began to curse him, in a shameful way to see,
Till the Negro said, "I'll spank you, if you do not let me be!"
For this threat he was arrested, and for trial was arraigned,
And it goes without the saying, it was by the white man gained.

So Kitt Bookard there was sentenced, for that was the Negro's name,
To a fine of just five dollars, and condemned with all the blame.
When the fine he could not furnish, in the guard-house he was placed,
There in safety for the lynchers, who that night the town disgraced.

With the constable to help them and the marshall of the town,
Went the wicked fishing-party to the guard-house, with a frown;
They procured a bar of iron, gagged and tied Kitt Bookard fast,
And they took him in a buggy to the river, for the last.

"Say your prayers," the lynchers told him, "for to Jordan you have come,
Be in haste, for hour of midnight brings you to your final home."
"If you'll spare me," said Kitt Bookard, "I will be your slave for life."
"Speak no more," the mob retorted, "with your blood will end the strife."

He was clubbed and mutilated, then the fiends put out his eye-
Any mob of heathen darkness would such shameful deeds decry-
Then with weights about his body, in the river he was cast,
Where his blood cried out for vengeance till a week and more had passed.

Bookard's family was anxious to procure him his release,
Through the night his wife was restless, and from worry could not cease.
At the dawn his brother hastened, "I will pay the fine," he said,
But he found the guard-house empty and as quiet as the dead.

Quick a search was instituted, all the Negroes,round about,
Volunteered into the service, bound to clear the place of doubt.
In the night a rain had fallen and no stirring round was done,
Save a buggy-track was leading from the guard-house-only one.

Hurriedly the track was followed to the Santee River's brink,
And a dredging was decided when the Negroes came to think.
On the ninth day thus they found him in the silent river's bed,
Weighted with a bar of iron, mutilated, bruised and dead.

When the coroner was summoned and an inquest was begun,
'Twas revealed in all its horrors, how the deed of shame was done,
'Twas a tale of barbarism that the press refused to tell,
How the mob with hellish fury did the work of demons well.

In the mob was found a witness, when the fiends were brought to court,
Who exposed the shocking lynching in a clear and full report,
All the details of the quarrel, and the fine Kitt was to pay,
Of his death in Santee River long before the dawn of day.

Then the jury left the court-room, just for fourteen minutes' time,
And returned to bring the verdict that would free the sons of crime,
"We pronounce the men not guilty," said the foreman of the crew,-
When the facts are given credance, this was thunder from the blue.

Now that mob unwhipped of justice, poses as the country's best,
Why, it only killed a Negro! let such matters have a rest!
Hark! we hear in half the country, "Keep the Negro in his place,
Violence we measure to him as a warning to his race."

To this day the blood of Bookard cries for vengeance, loud and long,
And the wailing reaches heaven, fills the ear that hates the wrong.
So the same can never triumph-punishment for sin is sure,
'Tis God's world, and not the devil's; wrong enthroned is insecure.

While we feel that God is living, we our patience strive to keep,
Still the question comes with power, O, how long will justice sleep?
Those who die the death of Bookard, some sweet day revenge will find.
Nature's God reveals the secret, wrong is punished by its kind.