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"Aunt Chloe's Politics" (Excerpt)

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper's career spanned the critical period in American history from abolition to women's suffrage, and she cared deeply about both. Harper frequently centered her writing on political issues and, conversely, incorporated her literary work into her speeches on political topics. She is one of the premier artist activists—or activist-artists—in American literary history. This excerpt is a small portion of a much longer work.

Aunt Chloe's Politics

Of course, I don’t know very much
    About these politics,
But I think that some who run ‘em
    Do mighty ugly tricks.

I’ve seen ‘em honey-fugle round,
    And talk so awfully sweet,
That you’d think them full of kindness,
    As an egg is full of meat.

Now I don’t believe in looking
    Honest people in the face,
And saying when you’re doing wrong,
    That “I haven’t sold my race.”

When we want to school our children,
    If the money isn’t there,
Whether black or white folks have took it
    The loss we all must share.
And this buying up each other
    Is something worse than mean,
Though I thinks a heap of voting,
    I go for voting clean.

Source | Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, "Aunt Chloe's Politics," poem, 1872, in Heath Anthology of American Literature, vol. C, 5th ed., ed. Paul Lauter (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 568.
Creator | Francis Ellen Watkins Harper
Item Type | Fiction/Poetry
Cite This document | Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, “"Aunt Chloe's Politics" (Excerpt),” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 5, 2023,

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