FREEDMEN, SHARECROPPING AND BLACK CODES

And hearts overflowed and did nourish these lands
With the joys known at last to African-Americans.
Whoses passions took root, only needing the chance,
To know liberty's wonders and those wonders advance.

As they quickly formed churches and started town schools
To partake in life's blessings and take hold of life's tools.
Indeed, the young and the old, and those toiling and tired,
Came to learn all they could -- by a future inspired!

And those of bold spirit and those thirsty for knowledge
Made their mark in the world, in both workplace and college.
And many soon prospered and others slowly made gains
In uncertain new times and a life without chains.

But, alas, still others had no choice but to stay
And till the same soil they had known in the day.
As those too poor to leave and with no other home
Would work the farmlands that the old masters did own.

Yes, a
sharecropper's life was lived freely yet poor,
Paying rent for the land with a still grueling labor.
While the bend in white minds proved stubborn to fix,
Leaving blacks at the mercy of some dastardly tricks!

As
black codes became common in each county and town
To stymie their efforts and to hold the race down,
By forbidding good jobs and oft' picking new fights
-- With
poll taxes and tests to now tread on their rights!

And to divide daily life,
segregation did start:
Whites HERE, blacks THERE, living lives held apart.
As the laws called "Jim Crow" tried their best to prevent
Respect for all colors and their equal treatment.

Yes, such acts were bitter and were bitterly fought
In an ongoing struggle in a land still distraught.
But the seeds had been sown and someday would bring
Blooms of new progress and a more brotherly spring...

















Worksheet # 76
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