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Mr. Roosevelt Regrets (DETROIT RIOT, 1943)

Upon reading PM newspaper's account of
Mr. Roosevelt's statement on the recent race
clashes: "I share your feeling that the recent
outbreaks of violence in widely spread parts of
the country endanger our national unity and
comfort our enemies. I am sure that every true
American regrets this."

What'd you get, black boy,
When they knocked you down in the
And they kicked your teeth out,
And they broke your skull with clubs
And they bashed your stomach in?
What'd you get when the police shot
  you in the back,
And they chained you to the beds
While they wiped the blood off?
What'd you get when you cried out to
  the Top Man?
When you called on the man next to
  God, so you thought,
And you asked him to speak out to save
What'd the Top Man say, black boy?
"Mr. Roosevelt regrets . . . . . . ."

Written by Pauli Murray (1910-1985)


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