Ten Little Nigger Boys

I was reading Atlanta Black Star’s interesting, but as the title says ‘Disturbingly Racist Children’s Books’ that were around in the early 20th century. The link can be found here: 8 Disturbingly Racist Children’s Books Designed to Devalue Black People


What most shocked me was the nursery rhyme counting book called ‘Ten Little Nigger Boys’ which taught white children to count. The book ran for many editions and was still being published as late as 1956!

It was also set to music. A version can be found here on YouTube: Ten Little Nigger Boys Song

Depicted in the book are caricatures of black boys who are eliminated by a series of gruesome events, counting down from ten to the last one.

 Nursery Rhyme about Ten Little Niggers

Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.

Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself, and then there were eight.

Eight little nigger boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there, and then there were seven.

Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in half, and then there were six.

Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five.

Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got in chancery, and then there were four.

Four little nigger boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three.

Three little nigger boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one, and then there were two.

Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up, and then there was one.

One little nigger boy living all alone;
He got married, and then there were none.