The Crum Appointment

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You, no doubt, have heard the story told of Charleston by the sea,
How they persecute a Negro when a man he tries to be,
'Tis of national importance and the world enjoys the sport,
Caused by William Crum's appointment as collector of the port.

When the president decided to appoint him to the place,
Then a train of opposition from the city set apace,
"Our objection to a Negro," said the whites, "has ever been,
That we fear contamination from the color of his skin."

This the president dishonored, then they brought another plea,
"To the great and grand old party, he has faithless proved to be,"
Crum his loyalty established and the fallacy declared,
Brought McComas to his rescue and the prejudice was bared.

To the friends within the senate they directed their appeal,
To defeat his confirmation and suppress a Negro's weal,
For a time the plan succeeded, thus a vote was thwarted twice—
He was promptly re-appointed till the same was numbered thrice.

Then they tried intimidation, told him how the race would lose
All the favors of the white man, and between these he must choose,
They persuaded and they threatened, aye, the Southern press was wild,
In denouncing such an outrage, how the city was defiled!

He with patience bore their envy, heard the clamor and the din,
Ev'ry accusation answered, save the color of his skin,
As a pillar of Gibraltar, he in firmness took a stand,
Braved the storm of opposition like a Moses of the land.

When at length he was commissioned, great, indeed, the city's change,
'Twas a hundred, aye, and fifty that applied for work! how strange!
'Twas the very class of people that his color filled with dread
Who then asked for sub-positions, though a Negro man was head.

Then a telegram was brought him saying, salary was paid,
To no one who was appointed when the senate gave no aid,
Equal to the dire occasion, he made answer, "'Tis no test,
Till the government shall warn me I'll take chances with the rest."

Now contamination's mountain sinks away to common dust,
They are not afraid of Negroes but desire the place of trust,
They want Negroes to be servants and their bosses to be white,
Prejudice distorts their visions and they cannot see the right.

© Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer