Friday, June 5, 2009

Trip #3 Amherst, Ohio For Whites Only?

Have you ever been to a town that reeked of rich, white racism? Well let me tell you a sad story about a young black blues player, a steel guitar, some racists and a curtain call. A young black man came to Amherst, Ohio and put on a performance for a large crowd and one clapping, laughing young lady. You see the young man played his heart out and nobody clapped except one young lady. Then at the end comes curtain call, he placed the steel guitar on his back, got down on one knee, placed his forehead on it, closed his eyes and told a joke.

It seemed there was this group of KKK that wanted to take an ocean voyage and rented a whole cruse liner. The day of the cruise everyone showed up in their pointy hats and white garb and went aboard the liner. Everyone on board was white except for the cook who was black. So they go about their rituals and cross burning as the cruse progresses. But somewhere along the line fate takes over and they hit a submerged rock and the liner starts to sink.

Well they don't know what to do and they are all going to die. But one of them says what about the black cook? You know all those black folks have that rhythm and a direct line to God. We could get him to pray for us and save our lives. So they go to the black cook, tell him what they think and ask him to get God to save them. Well the black cook gets down on one knee, put his forehead on it, begins to wail in sorrow, a mournful cry, loud lamentation, grief and pain to the Lord.

There was the time I wanted to go dancing Lord. I put on my best suit and was looking good Lord. But the sign said, "for whites only," Lord and I left the dance hall and sank down in the alley Lord and cried. But I still have faith in my white brothers and you Lord. Bring me through the valley of the shadow of death Lord.

Lord, when I came to that drinking fountain, Lord you know that I was dry and thirsty like Moses in the desert Lord. I needed a drink Lord, but there was that sign that said, "for whites only," but Lord I needed a drink of water. So I went away Lord, not hating my white brothers, but thirsty Lord. Thirsty in my soul Lord.

And Oh Lord when I needed to go to the bathroom Lord, I was crawling to the door, but there was that sign. "for whites only," Lord and what was I to do. I went away holding it Lord, trusting in you and never cursed my white brothers, Lord. You know I did. I love you Lord.

But I need you help now Lord. My white brothers are going to die, Lord. Everyone of them are going to drown and die Lord. I'm asking you to forgive them Lord and save them from this slow death and sinking ship Lord. So Lord, if your going to send this ship to the ocean bottom, Lord, and kill everyone Lord, make it be, "for whites only" Lord.

The young black entertainer got up off his knee, looked at the crowd and there was no clapping no laughter. Just one young lady in the back clapping and laughing. He pointed to her and said, "I see that at least one person got my joke."

[That clapping, laughing young lady was my niece.]


MacDaddy said...

Wow! What a story! Love it.

Anonymous said...

We are a Black Family living in Amherst for the last 7 years and we have never experienced racism .. where was the location that you played, we will never go there again