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African-American American American Poetry Black History Poetry Uncategorized

“Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League” by Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr. (1861 – 1949)


Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League

’Tis strange indeed to hear us plead
   For selling and for buying
When yesterday we said: “Away
   With all good things but dying.”
The world’s ago, and we’re agog
   To have our first brief inning;
So let’s away through surge and fog
   However slight the winning.
What deeds have sprung from plow and pick!
   What bank-rolls from tomatoes!
No dainty crop of rhetoric
   Can match one of potatoes.
Ye orators of point and pith,
   Who force the world to heed you,
What skeletons you’ll journey with
   Ere it is forced to feed you.
A little gold won’t mar our grace,
   A little ease our glory.
This world’s a better biding place
   When money clinks its story.