Booker T. Washington's Speech/ The Trashing of the Car Lyrics. From Musical "Ragtime"

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Booker T. Washington's Speech/ The Trashing of the Car Lyrics


by . From Ragtime.


(Lights come up on BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, making a speech.)

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
And I say to you, gentlemen, that every race or notion that has ever got upon its feet has done so through struggle and
persecution; and out of this very resistance to wrong, out of the struggle against odds, they have gained strength.

(COALHOUSE and SARAH and the baby are returning to New Rochelle in the Model T.
WILLIE CONKLIN and his MEN appear, goofing off in front of the firehouse. We hear the familiar sound of a Model T coming
toward us. The MEN begin to fan out. COALHOUSE and SARAH find their way barred by WILLIE CONKLIN and the EMERALD ISLE
FIREMEN. Nastiness hangs in the air.)

COALHOUSE
Sarah. Go down the road and wait.

SARAH
I'm not going to leave you.

COALHOUSE
Do it, Sarah.

SARAH
Stubborn, righteous man.

(SARAH hurries off with the baby.)

COALHOUSE
Let me pass.

CONKLIN
Gladly. That will be twenty-five dollars. This is a private toll road.

COALHOUSE
Since when?

CONKLIN
Since some high-falutin' nigger and his whore and his whore's baby thought they could drive that goddamn car of their any
place they pleased, that's since when.

(COALHOUSE gets out of the car.)

CONKLIN
Running away, nigger?

COALHOUSE
I am going to find a policeman. If anyone touches my car before I return, he will answer to Coalhouse.

CONKLIN
Tell him Fire Chief Will Conklin sends his regards!

(The FIREMEN laugh as COALHOUSE walks away.)

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
We must exhibit patience.


(The FIREMEN descend on the car and destroy it.)

Self-control. Forbearance. And dwell above hatred and acts of cruelty.

(BOOKER T. WASHINGTON disappears.)

COALHOUSE
Coalhouse found a policeman but he refused to help. When he returned to his car, the Model T was spattered with mud. There
was a twenty-inch tear in the custom pantasote top. The tires had been slashed and all the windows broken. Deposited on the
seat was a mound of fresh human excrement.

CONKLIN
Come on, fellas, let's roll her into the pond and see if she floats!

(CONKLIN and the FIREMEN exit, laughing and pushing COALHOUSE'S car as SARAH returns.)

SARAH
Come on, Coalhouse. Come on. It doesn't matter.

[Thanks to Yehuda Alexander for lyrics]




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