Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
Letters from Africa

Poe's The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven (1845) channels slavery and this was recognized even at the time, as can be seen in the cartoon below (from 1863), where a disheveled Confederate slave owner is haunted by a "Negro" raven sitting atop the head of Horace Greeley, famously influential northern newspaper editor and proponent of abolition.


And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                                        Shall be lifted -- nevermore!

Now that is not the text that appears next to this cartoon. The actual text satirizes the slave owner mentality and ends with the stirring call for freedom.


And the Nigger never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On that horrid bust of HORACE just above my chamber-door;
And his lips, they have the snigger, of a worthless freeborn Nigger,
And he swells his sombre figger, when I ask him, with a roar,
"Will you blacks again be Cattle, as you used to be before?"
Cries the Chattel, "Never more!"

Copyright and source: Son of the South

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