"Poetry for the People": Reading Garveyism through Poetry

Ku Klux Klan, Beware!, by William B. Crampton, Jr.

    Ku Klux Klan, you had better disband,

    Before you feel the power of the Negroe’s hand.

    They have changed since the year of sixty-five;

    You stay in the South or you won’t be alive.

    You who went to war with him know well what he can do,

    And when it comes to self-protection, good God, I pity you!

    I warn you now, Ku Klux Klan,

    Do not increase your ghostlike band,

    If you wish to save lives, families and land.

    The Negro today is a thinking man,

    And when you start the fight, be sure how much you can stand.


    You will always remember the wild West and its stages,

    So will the Negro remember those cruel outrages.

    Not inflicted by the terrible Indian or Hun,

    But by his white Western and Southern countrymen.

    Their hearts must be blacker than the darkest night

    To burn a man without giving him a chance to fight.

    Why not abolish the terrible rope and stake?

    And then see the progress and peace you will make,

    Instead of inflicting fresh wounds of hate

    By letting the Ku Klux Klan become your barbarous mate.


    The Negro has progressed in knowledge, like the rest,

    And is only too willing for a trial and test.

    You claim to be wise, then why close your eyes,

    When in every corner are the enemies’ best spies?

    The U.S. can’t afford to fight her colored sons,

    When she recalls what they did in Europe to the Huns.

    At any moment there is liable to be another war,

    And surely America would not pass the Negro’s door.


    Did you ever stop to think how terrible it would be

    To have the vast Negro population your enemy?

    But they are far from being a barbarous race,

    And war and turmoil do not suit their taste.

    He is anxious to be studying and learning,

    So as to keep the sparks of genius still burning.

    Now, Ku Klux Klan, don’t come North,

    Unless you wish the devil himself to come forth.

From the August 20, 1921 issue.

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