Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CROATAN, by CHAPMAN JAMES MILLING

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First Line: Addressed as mister; neither white nor red
Last Line: That day the man from hartsville called him nigger.
Subject(s): African Americans - Alabama; Racial Equality

Addressed as Mister; neither white nor red
Nor tan, but more a shade of murky brown
On Saturdays he drove an ox to town
And slept upon a scanty fodder bed
Behind his wagon near the cotton shed,
While, sharing it, a lanky dog lay down
And met the loafer's grin, the banker's frown,
The gape of wide-eyed boys who thought him dead.

So lazy, people said, he would not move
A crippled hog that died beneath his floor;
And when the hinges rusted through the groove
He never tried to mend the sagging door.
But he was forked lightning on the trigger
That day the man from Hartsville called him Nigger.

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