A Dutch slave ship sailed up the quiet James River to anchor at the new English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. It had on board twenty strong negroes who had been stolen from their homes in western Africa and were for sale.
The owner's house sits like a latent poll tax. It is hidden behind heavy trees that shake a little. The slave shacks are below & off to the left. Then are the acres of cotton. Then is the cotton baling press and the cotton ginning mill. Then is the boy hauling baled cotton to shipping points on the River.
King Cotton is dressed in a white suit and has a white mustache and red face. He's in rocking chair on his front porch & drinking a cool glass of amphetamine solution.
"Niggers," he called & then the curtain came up. One nigger limped out across the stage in plaid shirt, green pants and ate some watermelon & shuffling his feet around and scratching his head. Then a nigger came out driving a Cadillac and two niggers were fucking in the back seat and listening to blue music. A nigger came out with a knife scar on his face. A girl with a red bandana on her head come out and say she'll french King Cotton for five dollar. King's eyes light up like Dixie and girl come off stage and she french him on the spot.
"Oh, baby, that's good," said King Cotton with beads of sweat on his forehead. After, he gave the girl a ten dollar bill and said he'd see her again. Then he thought about things. He thought about the feud between the North & the South and how Abolitionists in the North wanted to end slavery. He wondered what was wrong with people in the North. Slaves had it good where they were now. They had cabins and food and clothing. Why those niggers in the North work in cold factories with no fresh air and low wages.
"Niggers," he said and the curtain raised again and the old Negro came limping out and ate the watermelon and the kat came out in his car with the people in the back seat fucking and listening to melodies sounded like blue saloon in Harlem and the nigger kids came out & played stickball and there was a Cakewalk and the girl came out and - yes! she gave the white asshole head again, and his eyes were up in the air like terrible parachutes. "You niggers are good niggers," said the man to the girl and the people on the stage. "Why, shit, they're talking up in the North about freeing the slaves, say they got a fellow up there running for the presidency who's gonna end it all. But I got locks on you people and even if they do free you you'll still be slaves.
" He flip a switch by his side and a pornographic film of two negroes fucking appears. Then it cuts to a shot of a Negro man buying a washing machine and trying to move into the Suburbs. There were scenes of Negroes using hair-straighteners and watching white television and digging white flicks. Shots of Southern sheriffs stupid grins and stuffing fucking chewing tobacco in their goddamned mouths. Then shots of Negro woman scared to death of white reporters & not wanting to say nothing. "So you see," said King Cotton. "It won't make no difference what they do. It'll be too late, the damage was done when the first one of you agreed to bend over and pick that piece of cotton. Har, har." King laughed and drank a little more of the amphetamine solution. "What you shoulda done was to fight us right then. You shoulda refused to work. Shit, slavery was a new thing then. If you'd a showed us it didn't work we'd have let you go, calling it a bad investment. Har, har, you're just stupid like they say."
"Now," he said snapping his fingers, "niggers!"
The old man came out and ate the watermelon but it wasn't watermelon he was eating it was the whiteman's heart. The people came out and fucked but they were giving it to King Cotton in the ass with poison ends and the kids came out with livers and kidneys toenails eyeballs on the end of their sticks. The girl came out with the man's head on a beautiful platter came over from England years ago, and in the back the house was a raging fire and the air rent with beautiful calls of Hallelujah!
Bill Hutton's History of America was published by the Coach House Press, Toronto/Detroit. Copyright ©1968 by Bill Hutton.