Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins
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Quotes for
Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins (Character)
from Glory (1989)

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Glory (1989)
John Rawlins: Where about you from?
Trip: I'm from around Tennessee. I ran away when I was 12 years old and I ain't never looked back.
Sharts: What ya doin' since then?
Trip: I run for President.
[laughter]
Trip: I didn't win though.

Rawlins: He's just a boy.
Trip: He a weak white boy, and beatin' on a nigger make him feel strong.

[Trip and Searles are about to fight when Rawlins steps in]
Rawlins: Look, goddamn it! The whole world gotta stomp on your face?
Trip: Nigger, you better get your hands off me!
Rawlins: Ain't no niggers around here! Understand?
Trip: Oh, I see, so the white man give you a couple a stripes, and suddenly you start hollerin' and orderin' everybody around, like you the massa himself! Nigger, you ain't nothin' but the white man's dog!
[He starts to walk away, Rawlins stops him and slaps him]
Rawlins: And what are you? So full of hate you want to go out and fight everybody! Because you've been whipped and chased by hounds. Well that might not be living, but it sure as hell ain't dying. And dying's been what these white boys have been doing for going on three years now! Dying by the thousands! Dying for *you*, fool! I know, 'cause I dug the graves. And all this time I keep askin' myself, when, O Lord, when it's gonna be our time? Gonna come a time when we all gonna hafta ante up. Ante up and kick in like men. LIKE MEN! You watch who you call a nigger! If there's any niggers around here, it's YOU. Just a smart-mouthed, stupid-ass, swamp-runnin' nigger! And if you not careful, that's all you ever gonna be!

Rawlins: The town is clean sir. Ain't no rebs here, just some women.
Col. Montgomery: You hear that! Let's clear er out!
[His men begin looting the town]
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: What are you doing?
Col. Montgomery: Liberating this town in the name of the Republic.

[Col. Shaw approaches Rawlins after having Trip horse-whipped for deserting]
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Mr. Rawlins... this morning, I... it would be a great help to me if I could talk to you from time to time about the men. That's all.
[turns to leave]
John Rawlins: Shoes, sir.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: [Shaw turns around]
John Rawlins: The men need shoes, Colonel.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Yes, I've been after the quartermaster for some time.
John Rawlins: No, sir. Now. That boy ran off to find him some shoes, Colonel. He wants to fight. Same as the rest of us. More, even.

John Rawlins: That's right, Hines. Ain't no dream. We runaway slaves but we come back fightin' men. Go tell your folks how kingdom come in the year of jubilee!

[the 54th has just been attached to Col. Montgomery's regiment in the hope of seeing combat. The troops are marching through the regiment's camp]
Cpl. Thomas Searles: Who are these ragamuffins?
John Rawlins: Contraband soldiers, straight from the field.
Short contraband: Hey, we slaves in the field when the Yankee man come. Say we soldiers.
[to Thomas]
Short contraband: Hey, where from?
Cpl. Thomas Searles: Massachusetts.
Tall contraband: You walk like the bukra soldier, even talk like him!
Cpl. Thomas Searles: [to Rawlins] What'd he say?
John Rawlins: He says we march like white soldiers. How you like the Army, contraband?
Tall contraband: Oh, we love it! We thank the Lord every day for da good vittles and these beautiful clothes! Every day like kismis!
Cpl. Thomas Searles: [to Rawlins] What?
John Rawlins: Like Christmas.
Cpl. Thomas Searles: Oh.

John Rawlins: [has been appointed Sergeant Major] I ain't sure I'm wantin' this, Colonel.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: I know exactly how you feel.

John Rawlins: [part of the prayer group] Lord, we stand before you this evening, to say thank you! And we thank you, father, for your grace, and your many blessings! Now I run off, leaving all my young'uns and my kinfolk, in bondage. So I'm standing here this evening, Heavenly Father, to ask your blessings on all of us. So that if tomorrow is the great getting-up morning, if that tomorrow we have to meet the Judgement Day, O Heavenly Father, we want you to let our folks know that we died facing the enemy! We want 'em to know that we went down standing up! Amongst those that are fighting against our oppression. We want 'em to know, Heavenly Father, that we died for freedom! We ask these blessings in Jesus' name. Amen!