I was browsing through the book “A World Treasury of Proverbs” edited by Henry Davidoff, published in 1946, when I noticed that this book included what was labeled as being proverbs by the “American Negro.” I debated whether or not to compile and publish this list, as I find much of the portrayal of African Americans here distasteful (as well as some of the language offensive), but it is a part of our history. I decided that such a list of proverbs could be a useful reference tool for history and literature students researching the topic of racism, and how African Americans were portrayed and perceived in the 1940s and prior.
Appetite don’t regulate de time o’ day.
Buyin’ on credit is robbin’ next year’s crop.
Don’t curse the crocodile’s mother before you cross the river.
Cussin’ de weather is mighty po’ farming.
Licker talks might loud w’en it gits loose from de jug.
You k’n hide de fire, but w’at you gwine do wid de smoke?
Winter grapes sour, wedder you kin reach ’em or not.
De graveyard is de cheapes’ boardin’-house.
Mules don’ kick ‘cordin’ to no rule.
One person can thread a needle better than two.
De noise of de wheels don’ measure de load in de wagon.
De point of de pin is de easiest to fin’.
Promise is a promise, dough you make it in de dark er de moon.
De rich git richer and de po’ git children.
De cow-bell can’t keep a secret.
Henry Davidoff (editor). A World Treasury of Proverbs