Nate wrote this, gave it to his sister Pamela, and asked that she share it with us in case the State of Alabama murdered him.
Had they and I but met
At some old residence in Ensely
Had they put their badges
Before their criminal affiliations
Claiming to be Law
Claiming to serve and protect
Didn’t forget to call us niggers
White men’s Mentality
Bent on beating my colored life away.
And now, the kith and kin at once start preparing the funerals.
The cries and laments of the sympathizers are over and they are calm now.
The enemies are jubilant.
The kinsmen are busy dividing the estate –
and as for the dead man, he lies entrapped by his own deeds.
Such is the reality of mortal life.
The cause of the death is severe indeed,
and, by and large, we fail to realize its gravity.
Involved as we are in our daily pursuits,
we seldom hint at death and even when we do, we just bring it in as a piece of conversation.
This will not avail us.
Instead we ought to clear our hearts from the thought of all other pursuits and think of death as if it were facing us.
This realization can be brought by recalling
how you prepared the funerals of your friends and relatives
and bore them on a cot to grave then interred them in the grave.
Imagine their faces,
their high stations in life;
and then reflect how earth would have disfigured the beauty of their faces,
their bodies would have disintegrated into pieces,
how they departed leaving behind their children orphans,
their wives widows, and their relatives mourning.
Their goods, their properties, their apparels — all left behind,
and then let the realization dawn on you,
that one day you are inevitably going to meet this doom.
How those who lie dead and still today
used to raise laughter in the company of their friends!
How deeply were they engrossed in the pleasures of the world.
They lay in the dust today!
How remote the thought of “DEATH” was from their minds!
They have become its prey now.
They were intoxicated by the bubbling passions of their youth!
Today their teeth lay scattered, the foot lays broken; the worms are eating into their tongue; their bodies are infested with mite!
How frank was their laugh! Today their teeth must have fallen!
What plans had they conceived!
How they entertained thought of making provisions for years ahead!
And yet, death was hovering over their heads.
The final day of their lives had come,
but they knew not that tonight they would be no more.
Such is mine own case.
I am busy planning my life today.
Little do I know what will happen to me tomorrow.
No living being knows the time of its end.
Man makes provisions for a hundred years,
yet, knows not that he might die the next minute.