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News & Politics News & Politics

Christ is a Dixie Nigge*

Posted by on May. 2, 2014 at 4:59 AM
  • 29 Replies

Spin-off from one of Blondie's posts, where she criticized a black person for writing the following poem:


You tell me Christ was born nearly twenty centuries ago in a little one-horse town called Bethlehem… your artists paint a man as a fair as another New White Hope

Well, you got it all wrong… facts twisted


Let me tell you wise guys something

I’ve got my own ideas… I’ve got a better Christ, a bigger Christ… one you can put your hands on today or tomorrow


My Christ is a Dixie nigge*, black as midnight, black as the roof of a cave’s mouth


My Christ is a black bastard… maybe Joe did tell the neighbors God bigged Mary….but he fooled nobody… they all knew Christ’s father was Mr. Jim, who owns the big plantation… and when Christ started bawling out back in the cabin, Mr. Jim made all three git


You see, I know

Christ studied medicine up North in Chicago then came back to Mississippi a good physician with ideas for getting’ the races together… he lectured in the little rundown school houses awaiting Rosenwald money… he talked of the brotherhood and equality of man and of a Constitution giving everybody a right to vote and some of the nigge* listeners told their white folks… when they found Christ healed a white woman other doctors gave up for dead… the two things together got him in the calaboose


They called him a Communist and a menace to the existing relationship Between Black and White in the South.


Sheriff and judge debated whether to open the hoosegow and tell reporters the mob stormed the jail or let the state lynch him on the gallows


Anyway they got him


Maybe the rope was weak, maybe or maybe Christ was too strong to die… I don’t know


They cut him down and they patched him up… he hid in the swamps until he got well enough to get around again… then he lectured a little more… and faded out. Whether he went to heaven or Harlem or the white folks broke his neck and hid the corpse somewhere is a question they still ask –


See what I mean?

I don’t want any of your stories about somebody running around too long ago to be anything but a highly publicized memory


Your pink priests who whine about Pilate and Judas and Gethsemane I’d like to hog-tie and dump into the stinking cells to write a New Testament around the Scottsboro boys

Subdivide your million dollar temples into liquor stores and high class whore-houses… my nigge* Christ can’t get pass the door anyway


Remember this you wise guys

Your tales about Jesus of Nazareth are a no-go with me

I’ve got a dozen Christs in Dixie all bloody and black….


Whether you agree with the poet or not, what is your opinion about the artistic merit of the way the poem is presented?  It is powerful?  Memorable?

(Note: I have reluctantly, in line with CafeMom's sensibilities, censored one word in the poem that appears several times, by replacing the terminal letter "r" with an asterix.)

by on May. 2, 2014 at 4:59 AM
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booaura
by on May. 2, 2014 at 5:01 AM
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It's a powerful message, that's true. Shocking, because of the words he used, he got attention. Who is the author?
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Clairwil
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2014 at 5:19 AM


Quoting booaura:

Who is the author?


Black Cat Press brought out Davis’ first book, Black Man’s Verse, in the summer of 1935.

Black Man’s Verse was a critical success. The book brought together Davis’s interest in jazz and free verse with a condemnation of racial oppression. Sterling A. Brown stated that Davis “at his best is bitterly realistic.” One section of the book, “Ebony under Granite," chronicles the lives of various black people buried in a cemetery. For this reason, it has been compared to Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology. In 1937, Black Cat Press released Davis’s second book, I Am the American Negro. As with his earlier volume, this book presents a strident critique of racism. The title poem, a “docudrama” in free verse and prose, is an attack against “Jim Crow” laws.

Between 1935 and 1947, Davis was Executive Editor for the Associated Negro Press in Chicago. He also started a photography club, worked for numerous political parties, and participated in the League of American Writers. With the encouragement of authors such as Richard Wright and Margaret Walker, Davis completed what many consider to be his finest collection, 47th Street47th Street was published in 1948 and chronicles the varied life on Chicago’s South Side. Whereas his earlier work focused exclusively on black life, this book presents a “rainbow race” of people, united more by class than color.

Clairwil
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2014 at 5:22 AM

Kansas State Agricultural College's school of journalism. There, because of a class assignment, Davis received his first introduction to writing free verse—his preferred poetic form. When he left Kansas State, he traveled to Chicago, where he wrote freelance articles for magazines and worked for several Black newspapers while continuing to produce poems. After a brief return to Kansas State, Davis moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to take an editing post on a semiweekly paper. With the help of his leadership, the periodical became the Atlanta Daily World, the first successful Black daily newspaper in America. Meanwhile, one of Davis's published poems, "Chicago's Congo," which concerns the underlying similarities between the Blacks of Chicago and those still living the tribal life of the African Congo, attracted the attention of bohemian intellectual Frances Norton Manning. When Davis returned to Chicago, Manning introduced him to Norman Forgue, whose Black Cat Press subsequently published four of Davis's books of poetry, beginning with Black Man's Verse. 

A critical success, Black Man's Verse "is experimental, cacophonous, yet sometimes harmonious," according to Tidwell. The volume includes poems such as "Giles Johnson, Ph.D.," in which the title character starves to death in spite of his four college degrees and knowledge of Latin and Greek because he does not wish to teach and is incapable of doing the manual labor that made up the majority of work available to Blacks. Other pieces in Black Man's Verse —"Lynched," "Mojo Mike's Beer Garden," and "Cabaret," for example—make use of Davis's expertise on the subject of jazz to combine "the spirit of protest in jazz and free verse with . . . objections to racial oppression, producing a poetry that loudly declaims against injustice," explained Tidwell. Another well-known part of the volume is entitled "Ebony Under Granite." Likened to author Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology, this section discusses the lives of various Black people buried in a cemetery. Characters include Reverend Joseph Williams, who used to have sex with most of the women in his congregation; Goldie Blackwell, a two-dollar prostitute; George Brown, who served life in prison for voting more than once, although in Mississippi he had seen white voters commit the same crime many times without punishment; and Roosevelt Smith, a Black writer who was so frustrated by literary critics that he became a postman. 

I Am the American Negro, Davis's second collection of poems, was published two years after his first. While drawing generally favorable reviews, it did not attract as much attention as Black Man's Verse, and some critics complained that it was too similar to the earlier book. For example, Tidwell quoted Black critic Alain Locke's assertion that I Am the American Negro "has too many echoes of the author's first volume . . . it is not a crescendo in the light of the achievement of Black Man's Verse." One of the obvious similarities between the two collections is that Davis also included an "Ebony Under Granite" section in the second. Members of this cast are people like the two Greeley sisters—the first's earlier promiscuous lifestyle did not prevent her from marrying respectably, while the second's lack of sexual experience caused her husband to be unfaithful; Nicodemus Perry, killed by loiterers for accidentally bumping into a white woman while, ironically, lost in memories of the sexual abuse his female relatives suffered at the hands of White men; and Mrs. Clifton Townsend, prejudiced against the darker-skinned members of her own race, who dies after giving birth to a baby much blacker than herself. Other poems featured in I Am the American Negro are "Modern Man—The Superman," which laments the state of modern civilization and has mock musical notations in its margins such as "Eight airplane motors, each keyed to a different pitch, are turned on and off to furnish musical accompaniment within the range of an octave"; and the title poem, which is a diatribe against Southern laws treating Blacks differently from Whites. Davis also placed love poems such as "Flowers of Darkness" and "Come to Me" in this book. 

"The culmination of Davis's thought and poetic development," is found in Davis's 1948 collection of poems, 47th Street, according to Tidwell. Davis himself remarked on the time span between his first book, I Am, and his fourth book, 47th Street, in a 1973 interview for Black World: "I was going through a number of changes during that particular time and I had to wait for these changes to settle and jell before I produced other work which I thought would be suitable to appear in a volume. And, of course, some critics naturally have thought that I would have been better off had I just continued to jell indefinitely." 47th Street is composed of poems such as "Coincidence," which narrates the life stories of Donald Woods, a White man, and Booker Scott, a Black man, who shared their dates of birth and death—by the poem's end the reader discovers that they also shared the same white biological father. The title poem, "unlike Davis's previous descriptions of Southside Chicago as exclusively Black," noted Tidwell, "presents a 'rainbow race' of people." Indeed, Tidwell saw the whole of 47th Street as having more universal concerns than his earlier works. When questioned about this issue Davis declared: "I am a Black poet, definitely a Black poet, and I think that my way of seeing things is the result of the impact of our civilization upon what I like to think of as a sensitive Black man. . . . But I do not think the Black poet should confine himself exclusively to Black readership. I think poetry, if it is going to be any good, should move members of all groups, and that is what I hope for."

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on May. 2, 2014 at 6:04 AM
3 moms liked this
I do think it is interesting and powerful. It's not really a poem about religion. Sometimes to get a message "in" you have to shatter that which keeps new ideas "out", the veneer of complacency and rightness with which most people conduct themselves. That it uses religious imagery to make the messages shocking and "in your face" does not mean the messages are disrespectful.

The pain in the poem, and the rage, are palpable.
vic270
by Vic on May. 2, 2014 at 6:35 AM
3 moms liked this

I refuse to even read the post because of the name of it. Our Lord has endured enough, I hate it when he is intentionally disrespected.

booaura
by on May. 2, 2014 at 6:48 AM
2 moms liked this
If you haven't read it, you have no idea if he is being disrespected. You have no idea what the point of the poem is, if you haven't read it. And it's certainly worth a read.

Quoting vic270:

I refuse to even read the post because of the name of it. Our Lord has endured enough, I hate it when he is intentionally disrespected.

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vic270
by Vic on May. 2, 2014 at 6:50 AM
3 moms liked this

 Then change the name of the post.

Quoting booaura: If you haven't read it, you have no idea if he is being disrespected. You have no idea what the point of the poem is, if you haven't read it. And it's certainly worth a read.
Quoting vic270:

I refuse to even read the post because of the name of it. Our Lord has endured enough, I hate it when he is intentionally disrespected.

 

booaura
by on May. 2, 2014 at 6:52 AM
2 moms liked this
It isn't my post, and that isn't just the name of the post, it's the name of the poem.

Quoting vic270:

 Then change the name of the post.


Quoting booaura: If you haven't read it, you have no idea if he is being disrespected. You have no idea what the point of the poem is, if you haven't read it. And it's certainly worth a read.
Quoting vic270:

I refuse to even read the post because of the name of it. Our Lord has endured enough, I hate it when he is intentionally disrespected.


 

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vic270
by Vic on May. 2, 2014 at 6:54 AM

 Then I am sorry, this is one that I will skip. Have a great day.

Quoting booaura: It isn't my post, and that isn't just the name of the post, it's the name of the poem.
Quoting vic270:

 Then change the name of the post.

Quoting booaura: If you haven't read it, you have no idea if he is being disrespected. You have no idea what the point of the poem is, if you haven't read it. And it's certainly worth a read.
Quoting vic270:

I refuse to even read the post because of the name of it. Our Lord has endured enough, I hate it when he is intentionally disrespected.

 

 

booaura
by on May. 2, 2014 at 6:58 AM
2 moms liked this
Don't apoligize to me, I'm not missing anything because you refuse to read it. You too :)

Quoting vic270:

 Then I am sorry, this is one that I will skip. Have a great day.


Quoting booaura: It isn't my post, and that isn't just the name of the post, it's the name of the poem.
Quoting vic270:

 Then change the name of the post.


Quoting booaura: If you haven't read it, you have no idea if he is being disrespected. You have no idea what the point of the poem is, if you haven't read it. And it's certainly worth a read.
Quoting vic270:

I refuse to even read the post because of the name of it. Our Lord has endured enough, I hate it when he is intentionally disrespected.


 


 

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