early Afro-American proverbs

Fri May 14 21:47:36 UTC 1999

        The following proverbs come from New York Transcript, July 23, 1834,
p. 1, col. 3.  This was one of New York's earliest penny papers, and
generally pretty crude and indeed racist.  Interesting for collectors
of slang, of course, for which I will forgive a lot.  The immediate
context was a paragraph pointing out the rough eloquence lesser
beings were sometimes capable of.

        Does a negro wish to express that it is folly to brave danger
unnecessarily, this he will not do by mode and figure; but will at
once say -- Crab what walk too much go 'na pot.

        Does [a negro] wish to indicate that oblivion generally follows
the death of any one, he says -- When man dead, grass grow at him

George A. Thompson

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