The Works of James M. Whitfield: America and Other Writings by a Nineteenth-Century African American Poet

By James M. Whitfield; Robert S. Levine et al. | Go to book overview

PROSPECTUS OF THE AFRIC-AMERICAN
QUARTERLY REPOSITORY 73

THE NATIONAL EMIGRATION CONVENTION OF THE COLORED PEOPLE OF NORTH AMERICA, after mature and deliberate consideration, at two successive sessions, held at Cleveland Ohio, August, 1854, and again in August 1856, 74 has resolved to authorize the publication of a Quarterly Periodical devoted to the general interest of the colored people, to be called “The AFRIC-AMERICAN REPOSITORY.”

It is evident to every one who comprehends the spirit of the age, that a well conducted, and well supported press, is one of the most potent instrumentalities that can be used at the present time in effecting the moral and intellectual culture, and elevation of any people. The present is emphatically a reading age. Elaborate works, which in former ages were only within the reach of the wealthy few, are now cheapened by the demand of the masses, who use these means to improve their minds and to enlighten their understanding; and thus have been popularized the acquisitions of literature and science, the once hoarded treasures of the aristocratic circle. This demand has called forth and trained up a class of authors, editors, essayists and critics, of ripe and elevated minds, who exert a powerful, but silent influence in every enlightened country. Theirs is the silent influence which goes with the divine into his study, and dictates the character of the doctrines and precepts which he must impress upon his hearers’ minds;—it mounts the rostrum with the orator, and paints each glowing period that rolls from his tongue;—it enters the halls of legislation, and gives tone to the debates, and shapes the character of enact

73. From the Provincial Freeman and Weekly Advertiser, 6 December 1856, 1. Edited by Mary Ann Shadd Cary in Canada West, the newspaper had adopted the emigrationist position of Whitfield and Delany, though with an emphasis on the importance of Canadian emigration as well.

74. The 1856 convention was held in Cleveland, at the A.M.E. Church, but was not as well attended as the 1854 convention. Martin Delany was unable to attend because of an illness.

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