Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer Poems >>
The Southern Press

When a Negro comes in question you may watch the Southern press,
See how bias its opinions, how his ills are given stress,
Prominence is given headlines, when accused he is of crime,
Emphasizes all the evils of the Negro ev'ry time.

If a white man comes in question you may watch the press again,
How its dignity it loses in a compromise with sin,
Down in some secluded corner you the story may behold,
Where the public may not find it, sadly there the tale is told.

It condemns the sins of Negroes which in white men 'twill excuse,
If a Negro's crime is grievous here's the heading it will use:
"He's a candidate for lynching," in a type that's bold and plain,
If a heinous crime's committed by a white man, "he's insane."

When the Negroes prove their manhood and their homes protection give,
They're pronounced as desperadoes and too desperate to live,
Nothing like its ever published of a white man, though his case
May be ten times more revolting and far deeper the disgrace.

At some public place if Negroes are mistreated by the whites,
When policemen won't arrest them or defend a Negro's rights,
Though the proof is overwhelming and the public ear it gains.
How conspicuous the silence that the Southern press maintains.

When a good is done by Negroes of the same you will not hear,
With their ills the press is busy and the good cannot appear,
Wrong, if found upon a Negro, will be charged up to the race,
But if white, with him 'tis ended, brings his people no disgrace.

See! the Southern press is bowing to a god that's made of gold!
And the populace is crying in a way that's passing bold,
"It must run to suit our fancy or the gold we'll take away!"
So the press can rise no higher than the common people say.

Humbleness will be exalted, exaltation be abased,
To the press it sounds a warning blest humility to taste.
Exaltation in a measure waves its banner over all,
But such pride will bring destruction, haughty spirits bring a fall.