[Ads-l] stay black and die

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 24 03:14:29 EDT 2016

Thanks Wilson, JL, and Peter for an interesting topic.

Date: July 25, 1925
Newspaper: The Indianapolis Star
Newspaper Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Column: New York Day By Day (syndicated)
Columnist: O. O. McIntyre
Quote Page 6, Column 8

[Begin excerpt]
At the newest of the colored musical shows two shuffling comedians
begin an argument. One orders the other in haughty manner to do this
and that. Finally he rebels.

"I don't gotta do that at all," he said. "I'se only gotta do two
things in this life—stay black and die."

And the audience laughed!
[End excerpt]

Regarding the variant "be black and die":

Apparently, the line "All I got to do is to be black and die, lady"
was spoken by James Earl Jones in the 1970 film "The Great White Hope"
according to an IMDB quotation list. (These quotation lists are not
always accurate; hence verification via film/video is required.) The
same line might have been included in the 1967 source play. (I don't
know.) Jones won a Tony Award as boxer Jack Jefferson. The author of
the play and screenplay was Howard Sackler.


On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 2:58 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 1:50 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> "Jonah's Vine Gourd" (Lippincott, 1934), by Zora Neale Hurston, who grew
>> up in Eatonville, Florida.  You can "Look Inside" a 1990 paperback version
>> on Amazon.com.
>> In an argument at a church meeting, in response to someone telling her to
>> speak only when spoken to: "Ah aint got tuh do but two things - stay black
>> and die," Sister Berry snapped.
> I was less thorough than I could have been, not thinking that anyone else
> was going to be seriously interested in this. So, I simply chose the most
> easily-located, clear cite.
> She uses it in more than one place. At least one publication gives her the
> credit for the coining of the phrase.
> Youneverknow.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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