Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer

Here you will find the Long Poem The Peonage System of poet Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer

The Peonage System

The religious wars of Europe have been numbered with the past,
But a worse thing, bright America with clouds has overcast,
'Tis the heinous contract system that plantation life contains,
Worse than slavery's conditions in a land where freedom reigns.

Negroes forced in one roomed cabins, mother's from their children torn
All the day till dark of evening from the dawn of early morn,
Sweet affection, thrift and neatness, all that perfect homes would bring,
Yea, humanity is buried at command of money's king.

Shall the future of the Negro by the white man be suppressed,
In his forcing from the present all that makes the future best?
Shall the training of the children be neglected? passing strange
Things material for the morals of the Negro they exchange.

Oft we find an overseer with a gun and club and whip,
Who at night within the stockade locks the Negroes, lest they skip,
If they offer a resistance for their treatment in this cage,
They are clubed into submission in the overseer's rage.

Some are kidnapped for the stockade, others taken there for debt,
Fed with only bread and water and for more they dare not fret,
They are worked like beasts of burden and the story here is told,
Of the sacrifice of manhood to a god that's made of gold!

'Tis an open, open secret how the white man without pain,
Sells the evil one his conscience out of greed for earthly gain,
Barbarism can't surpass it, races cannot lower fall,
'Mid this great enlightened country money's king rules over all.

If a farm hand makes an effort in the schooling of himself,
Or a mother will persist in looking up her little elf,
They must leave the old plantation for a more congenial clime,
'No enlightenment for Negroes,' planters say, ' 'tis loss of time.'

'Send to Africa the Negro,' they have talked of such you know,
Like to England's Irish question, planters cannot let him go,
Hear the planter loudly singing, this the chorus of the song:
'Keep the 'niggers,' all the 'niggers' in the field where they belong!'

Now he pleads for better treatment, why dehumanize a race?
On the farm he's proved his service and there's none to take his place,
None to stand the heat of summer in the making of the crop,
Whites are taught to need his labor and they cannot learn to stop.

Sad, indeed, to find a nation, bowing down to money's might,
Sacrificing all that's noble, all that's beautiful and right,
'Righteousness exalts a nation,' sin can only bring it shame,
Serve no other god, I warn you, in the God of heaven's name.