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Ernest Howard Crosby (1856-1907) was a lawyer by trade. He attended NYU. More importantly however, he was a staunch anti-imperialist and social reformer. He is not nearly as well known as the people with whom he associated, such as Leo Tolstoy and later Bolton Hall, Henry Codman Potter, William Dean Howells, Josephine Shaw Lowell. His involvement with the anti-imperialist movement, as well as his other social actions were remarkable at their time, but are not remember today as well and they should be.

Ernest Crosby, who often went by his middle name, wrote many socially progressive works, including an anti-imperialist novel, Captain Jinks, Hero (1902). He also wrote many poems, including:

  • Choir Practice
  • The Search
  • The Soul of the World
  • The Real "White Man's Burden"
  • Rebels (1902)
  • The Flag (1902)
  • The Military Creed(1902)
  • The Pirate Flag (1902)
  • The Real Epitaph (1902)
My favorite of these is The Search, because of it’s association with Alpha Epsilon Pi, my fraternity.

My second favorite is The Real "White Man's Burden". It was written in response to, of course, Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man's Burden and was publsihed in the New York Times on February 15, 1899. The poem is basically a parody, where instead of talking about the white man helping the "underprivileged", he instead talks about the realities of slavery.

In addition to his writing, Crosby was an activist for social reform and a strong supporter of the anti-imperialist cause. He participated in "A Peace Appeal to Labor," a protest against the Spanish-American War. Crosby was president of the Anti-Imperialist League of New York, an organization he helped found, from 1900 to 1905. In 1904 until his death in 1907, he served as the vice president of the national Anti-Imperialist League.

Text for The Real "White Man's Burden" can be found here: http://www.phschool.com/atschool/california/why_we_remember/amer_rev_to_1914/primary_sources/WWR_1914_PS18.html

Most of my information came from http://www.boondocksnet.com/ai/crosby/. That site also contains the full text of all of Crosby’s work. Check it out.

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