QOTD (2010-03-13)

From the first issue (1920) of a magazine called The Brownies’ Book, the first American children’s magazine targeted to an African-American audience, and edited by W.E.B. DuBois:

There is no doubt about it, we Children have just got to take hold of this world. The Grown-ups have made an awful mess of it. First and worst, they have forgotten how to Laugh. Now let me say right here: The nicest thing in the world is Laughter—good, big, loud laughs. And next is Smiles, the sort that come before and after. Laughter clears away rubbish and gets things started. Fancy forgetting how to laugh! How could they? But they did and then, naturally, they fought. Fighting is mostly wrong and silly. Of course, if you’re just set upon by a bully and you can’t laugh it off, why just punch him hard, and then make up. See? Make up! Don’t try and be mad forever, or for a day. Make up, and try a game of ball. Let him bat if he wants to. He’ll probably strike out, and then you’ll have your innings.

Of course, we Children know this is easy; but Grown-ups don’t. They’re awfully dull at times, and if we don’t take hold of things and help, I don’t know where this old world is going to land. It’s a mighty nice world, too. The best ever if you just treat it square. But if you mess it up with blood and hate and meanness, why it’s awful. If the Grown-ups keep on, we Children will just have to crowd them right off the edge and take charge of things. Gee! But what a jolly place: marbles, and tag, and funny stories, and pennies, and dolls, and tops, and—oh! everything that really counts.

So look out, Grown-ups, we’ve got our eye on you, and “Don’t let us have to speak to you again,”—as Father says.


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