Walker Smith

The Color Line

"I dare you to walk away from this book uninspired. Readers of all races will learn volumes from this far-reaching new book for our times"

- Hycell B. Taylor, The African-American Revolt of the Spirit


Dawn – prismatic morning colors

refracting lies called “white” and

a war called “Great” leaving

Dark Paradise eclipsed by light . . .

Uncle Sam wants you too!

Fight for the country your father built and

your mother suckled and nurtured and

tried to make clean

A renaissance dream laid bare

as New Negroes line up for “nigger” weapons

at the armory of shovels, mops, and

shoe-shine rags

To serve at dream-stealers’ feet

“over there, over there . . .”


High noon – blinding eyes to truths of

a lynching en masse – over there

Shovels gladly traded for colored pride

Hut, two, three, four – move out!

Sharecroppers, chauffeurs and


French heroes overnight

over there

in burning blasts of light and

rocket’s red glare

blind and lost to white man’s truths

Talented tenths –

percentages caught

in a barbed-wire noose


Sunset, shadows – enigma of twists

Mama’s tears and sweetheart’s kiss and

Jim Crow’s mocking grin

Sing it loud!

Here Comes My Daddy Now!

A sho-nuff natural man – at last . . .

Respect at five percent

’til uniforms are torn and burned by

white sheets on a midnight ride


Uncle Sam wants you to

line up for mops and

shoe-shine rags

to serve at dream-stealers’ feet

outside doors to “cotton” clubs as

nights grow late with

twisted dreams on flop house beds

of twisted wire and burning flesh

lynched and

dead and caught

in red, white, and blue barbed ropes of

Armistice. Victory. Dishonor.

And Harlem weeps.

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    Austin History Center, Saturday, August 15, 2015

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