What’s the Hour of the Night?

Queen Mother Audley Moore, July 27, 1950

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After four score years of freedom, our so-called leaders say that race has made great progress and we face the dawn of day. But the day is not quite dawning. Millions of my peoples stand pleading at the bars of justice for reparations and land. We’re not free in this country and the truth is the light. So I turn to ask my watchman, what’s the hour of the night?

We died fighting for democracy. I admit this to be true, yet countless African men & women have no homes or work to do. If I wish to see the daylight or the rising of the sun, we need our self-determination our own affair to run. Since only reparations will put freedom in our sight, let us turn to ask the watchman, what’s the hour of the night?

We fought with the mighty armies when they battled with the Huns. Faced the fierce pangs of combat, heard the roar of mighty guns. But no change came in our condition when the smoke had cleared away. For the blood we shed in battle did not bring the dawn of day. All of our suffering and service left us in the same old plight. So I turn to ask my watchman what’s the hour of the night?

The whites are celebrating their freedom, a bicentennial whose praise they sing, but Africans are also jumping on board although we didn’t get a thing. We’re still struggling for integration, as though it was a glorious fight. So I’ve got to ask my watchman what’s the hour of the night? Music is an art or science in which African men reign supreme, but the story of our progress is still a vision or a dream. But we have great voices for singing, but we have no voice in court. Imagine being attacked by police dogs just to register to vote. With self-determination we would have our perfect right, so we turn to ask our watchman what’s the hour of the night?

African men boast of their religion though I wonder if they should. When you take an inventory you’ll find them not so good. We build thousands of fine churches with the dollars that we give, yet masses of our people have no decent place to live. We say God is our rich father yet we’re always in a tight. Watchman strike a match and tell me what’s the hour of the night?

Civil rights laws just for us is proof that we are not free. How could we be fooled to think we have a share in this democracy. When foreigners come here they’re made citizens by choice. Citizenship was imposed upon us, we never had a voice. The passage of the 14th amendment took away the right, so you better ask your watchman what’s the hour of the night?

Time is running out for us. A deadline we must meet to file reparation petitions and make politicians earn their seats. If we’re to win this battle every organization must join the fight, then we’ll tell our watchman what’s the hour of the night.