Persecution by Three Ministers
But my life was hid in Christ. And in 1840, God from above spoke to him
in Albany and he troubled me no more. He had packed his trunk at night
to start for Philadelphia in the morning, and in the morning, he was dead.
— Rebecca Cox Jackson
Three ministers said I ought not to live.
What death I ought to die these Methodists
appointed: stoned, or tarred and feathered, burnt,
or rolled downhill in a barrel drilled with spikes.
Good Christian men.
My principle by nature was revenge.
My strength lay in the God of power, I learnt.
Obedience would cost all that I could give.
She's chopping up the churches. She must be stopped.
Women aleading men is shameful. She
would break the marriage bed—"All lust is sin."
Their authority: they feared I meant to take
the people from their preachers, which was odd—
I had nowhere to take them, but to God
A.M.E.: I. Exodus from St. George's
“...and we all went out of the church in a body, and they were no more
plagued with us in the church.” — Richard Allen
Philadelphia, November 1787
Your prayers are done. You're not to sit here. No.
Trustee Jackson pointed us upstairs, so
Pa planted me an' Brother in de wayback pew.
"Pa, how come we cain't set downstairs too?"
Pa's face scrinched, like when his hand got bit
by Massa Jackson's mule, both fightin' dem plough hitches.
"Preacher Richard Allen's harvestin' too many souls,
multiplyin' 'em like loaves an' colored fishes."
"Look, Pa—dey's draggin' dat man from his knees,
from up in front. It's Reverend Absalom!
Now all our folks is leavin'. Pa? Pa! Please—"
"Son, set. You ten. A man thinks hard an' long
what he can swallow so his blood can eat. Don' cry."
But Pa sat—differently.
From that day, so did I.
“Praise the Lord!” — Rebecca Cox Jackson, on being told of the death
of her brother, Reverend Joseph Cox, former pastor of Bethel A.M.E.
My only father, my delinquent teacher,
my sun. I fought to follow you, the preacher.
To serve my Lord as I served you, with all
my spark. You knew I heard the trumpet call.
They published me, and witnessed me a witch;
threatened me with stoning, as heretic;
called me "high-sensed," proud, a self-named prophet.
A word from you, my brother, could have stopped it.
I raised eight children—none of them I bore—
without complaint. Six of them were yours.
You bade me pour your coffee out
You saved me poor, then cast me out
You think that death will balm the branded hurt?
Yes, I forgive—now pour yourself some dirt
After a photograph of William E. B. Du Bois's son Burghardt Gomer Du Bois.
A white lace curtain partially overhangs the baby’s head.
My son, though Harvard-schooled, will see their blind
hatred still mock his budding brightness.
A Nigrah scholar. Thin smiles of forced politeness
will lock him tight behind the color-line.
Look, Gentle Reader: his perfect olive skin,
lithe limbs, dark curls, questing blue-brown eyes,
legs crossed to guard his manhood. For behind
his back the laced white Veil descends.
In his baby voice I heard a future prophet.
But white doctors wouldn't treat a colored child They let—
liberty’s a lie— diphtheria fester
At eighteen months his small soul self-sequestered
My son escaped Not dead not bound He's free
Must work Submission to such grief is slavery