Final Thoughts on the Nigger Question – R.E. Thompson, 6/09/1911

Final Thoughts on the Nigger Question – R.E. Thompson, 6/09/1911

Known as R.E. Thompson from Toomsuba, Mississippi

It is a hard matter to please everybody, especially if one uses some original ideas of his own.
in dealing with the general public. My “pieces” in The Issue on the nigger question have caused
a little storm to center upon my head. Up to date I have been condemned by four or live for
what I have written upon this subject, and on the other hand, I have been commended by
about forty for the same services. So it seems that the majority is with me. But the minority
is loud and “strong” against me. But I am not going to get mad with the minority for its stand
in the matter. I concede to others the same personal liberties and rights that I claim for myself,
and I am open to conviction, and it may be that I am wrong and that the minority in this case
is right. So come along and tell me where I am wrong. Do not holler out, “you are a liar!” and
fail to prove me one. Come along with the proof, and I will accept it. I wish that everyone who
has read my articles on the nigger could read my articles In Watson’s Magazine for June, by
Florent T. Jaudon, entitled. “Governor Hooper—Mayor Howse and Negro Equality in Tennessee.”
This writer understands the nigger, and states the subject in a way that makes it easily
understood. I cannot speak or write as I think, every time. I know good music when I
hear it, but cannot play a single piece of music of any kind on any kind of an instrument;
I cannot even whistle “Yankee Doodle.” I have music in my head alright—know exactly
how it ought to sound, but I can’t turn it loose to save my lite. So, I understand the
nigger alright; but unlike Jaudon, I am not able to express my ideas in speech or by
pen in the same fluent form that I have them down in my head.

And I tried in the beginning of my articles on the subject to inform my readers that what
I would have to say would be of a broken or disconnected nature, but would try to give
enough hints for anyone with a mind of their own to take these hints and bind them into
my general meaning of the subject. Say, while along this nigger subject, I wish to state
that I am looking for Leroy and his Partner to sue out an injunction against me, forbidding
me the use of the term “Nigger.” I notice in the papers that a certain court judge over in
Georgia has forbidden the term to be used in his court. And the to-be attorney-general
of that state was the one using the term when the order came from the bench of the
court. I guess the term swelled so loud to the judge that he could not stand it this hot
weather, and put a stop to Its use in self defense. Say, by the way, did you ever notice
how considerate a creature the rigger is? They will come along and “honey” around
you for first one little favor and another, and get them. And a little later you will need
a little favor from them, and will come at it something like this: “Say, Sambo, wish you
would go and catch my mare and hitch to the buggy and bring around to the front gate;
my wife and little Freddie want to take a drive over to town this evening, and I am in
a hurry and ‘nave not time to do it. You’re not in a hurry noway, are you Sambo?” “No
sar, boss; but what is you gwine ter gimme?” With the white people—the human race
—a favor given is received with a feeling that a favor is due in return. But a nigger
never considers the matter in that light at all.

Of course, you can often get them to return a favor by reminding them of the favors you
have given them. And does not his help to prove that they have not he human instinct?
Blackberries are ripe and ripening. So now is the time to make jams, Jellies and wines,
while the berries “shine.” Do not wait until they are all gone, and then complain of having
nothing to eat. My wife put up over 200 glasses of blackberry Jelly two or three years ago,
and about the same number of quart and half gallon jars of different kinds of fruit, and
is a consequence we have had “something good to eat” ever since, when company
would drop in unexpectedly. But we know of lots of other women who has as good,
and many of them a better chance, to put up fruits and jellies, as my wife had, but
failed to avail themselves of the opportunity. I do not know the reason why, but
my wife says she knows. She says it is nothing but hard-down laziness. She says
she has went out many an evening in the hot suns of June and July and gathered
blackberries, crab apples, muscadines and other fruits to make into Jellies, jams
and preserves and to can, while many other women with equal opportunities were
lying across their beds sound asleep and dreaming of visiting us to get something
good to eat. And I cannot help believing that she is about two halves right. If we
did not have so many careless, indolent wives and daughters we would not have
so many stay-away from home, get-drunk, cuss-and-fight husbands and sons. My
wife works and makes me work. I guess that is what I got her for. I am ashamed
to “paly off” when I see her trying so hard to do something and to have something.

Yes, blackberries are here now, so strike while the iron is hot, and not depend altogether
on visiting your more thritfy neighbors to get something good to eat. I know the red-bugs
or “chiggers” are mighty bad. But my wife says if you will work hard enough so as to sweat
or prespire profusely that it will kill all the bugs’ you get. So you see where there is a will
there is a way. Don’t excuse yourself from doing your duty by saying that picking blackberries
is a nigger’s job. Don’t depend upon the nigger for so much, and you will become more
prosperous, more healthful, better looking, and at the same time make a nigger of a negro.
Lots of them kill themselves doing nothing. Indolence kilts more women (and men too,)
than work. Ask your doctor if this is not true, first promising him you will not get mad and
talk about him if he will tell you the truth—give you his honest opinion about the matter.
I know of women who go in a drag along in the same old ruts from year to year, cooking
a little bread and gravy for breakfast, milking a poor cow, churning white water, slapping
an ili-shaped mattress a few tims, slinging on a quilt or two, stirring up the duet a little,
whipping little Johnnie and slapping little Sallie, pretending to cok some kind of dinner,
washing the dishes in dirty dish-water, slinging the dish-rag over a null on the wall of the
kitchen, sleeping over half the evening, and planning to make her John love her with all
his heart and soul by putting down to him for his supper a few cold scraps of hard corn
broad and hard-stem collard; and while he is trying to eat this mess, she makes things
pleasant (?) by fussing at him for not buying her a new $5.00 hat so she can
go to the big meeting next Sunday.

Is not such as this enough to make life miserable? I know I have drawn the picture pretty
strongly; but in a general way, it is not very much over- drawn. Look around you and see
if tt is. Do not look at yourself, for one cannot see his own faults. My wife says I cannot see
mine, and I dare dispute her word. She has no faults of her own—so she says; and I am
not going to say what I think about it. Until the weather gets cooler I am liable to write on
most any subject I happen to dream about.

– R.E. Thompson

Last Updated on October 4, 2020 by Bill Arp

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