Kentucky Educator,Poet & Author Joseph Cotter

Joseph Seamon Kotter

This a 1909 poetic ditty by Kentucky educator Joseph Cotter (sometimes considered Black America’s first great poet) criticized the tendency of black “intellectuals” to belittle the economic achievements of the black farmer in contrast to the elites’ own college-bred attainments. He pointed out that many an experienced farmer earned a better livelihood than some college graduates. He wrote*:

Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League

’Tis strange indeed to hear us plead
   For selling and for buying
When yesterday we said: “Away
   With all good things but dying.”


The world’s ago, and we’re agog
   To have our first brief inning;
So let’s away through surge and fog
   However slight the winning.


What deeds have sprung from plow and pick!
   What bank-rolls from tomatoes!
No dainty crop of rhetoric
   Can match one of potatoes.

Ye orators of point and pith,
   Who force the world to heed you,
What skeletons you’ll journey with
   Ere it is forced to feed you.

A little gold won’t mar our grace,
   A little ease our glory.
This world’s a better biding place
   When money clinks its story.
*quoted was written by Elizabeth Wright

One thought on “Kentucky Educator,Poet & Author Joseph Cotter

  1. Pingback: Father Knows Best: Father’s Day & First Day of Summer Week Mini-Linkfest | Patriactionary

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