African-American Women in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union: Document 2

African-American women sang the following songs at a WCTU organizing meeting in the South:


The storm is heavy, and the winds are loud,
Oh, take me in the Life Boat.

The thunders are rolling, and bursting in the cloud,
Oh, take me in the Life Boat.

Take me in the Life Boat, take me in the Life Boat,
Take me in the Life Boat, I'll perish, if you don't.

Another was:

Oh, see the Temperance Engine, a heaving now in sight,
The steam valves all are groaning, the pressure is so tight . . . .

The fare is cheap, and all can go, both rich and poor are there.
No second class on board this train, no difference in the fare.

—Excerpt from Sallie Chapin, "Our Southern Letter,"
Union Signal, 26 April 1883

3. In the first song what do the lifeboat and the storm symbolize?

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4. Why would the phrases "both rich and poor are there" and "no second class on board this train" appeal especially to African Americans?

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