Why do people sit in darkness as regards the Negro race?
Why so ignorant are nations of conditions in the case?
'Tis because the facts are strangled by a prejudice intense,
Truth is murdered in the forum when she cries in his defence.
If a white man braves the tempest and takes up the Negro's cause,
Thus exposing to the country the injustice of its laws,
He is met with ostracism and consigned to deep disgrace,
He is branded as a traitor to himself and to his race.
Did you know that Sledd of Oxford, his professorship resigned,
When he gave the press an outline of how Negroes are maligned,
When the world he gave the story of their wrongs on ev'ry hand,
And rebuked his brother white man for supporting such a stand?
Have you heard the tale of Bassett's being taken up and tried,
By the trustees of his college and the public too, beside?
He evoked the shaft of censure such as mad men would decree,
Just for writing good opinions of a Negro, don't you see?
We esteem the two professors being natives of the South,
Who would follow their convictions in the face of censure's mouth,
At a risk of their positions, prizing justice more than gold,
Such a sacrifice we'll cherish till the night away has rolled.
Manhood now is at a premium that such risky things will do,
When the life is so endangered from a social point of view,
'Tis a milestone of advancement when a Bassett or a Sledd
Rises higher than surroundings, up above the critic's dread.
If the North its grief expresses, as it views the ill so rife,
It is promptly called a meddler, an engenderer of strife,
Then the politicians clamor, while the press takes up the song,
And the people join the chorus in denouncing such a wrong.
We are proud of sympathizers in the great unequal fight,
In the struggle for true manhood and for triumph of the right,
'Tis exposure maims the evils as they viciously unfold,
So his sufferings, unvarnished, by the Negro must be told.
Truth has perished as a martyr, in her grave she's laid to rest,
Though she never fails of rising when the Father thinketh best,
Soon there'!l be a resurrection and conditions 'twill expose,
That will bring the Negro's manhood in the midst of wicked foes.