Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

By Philip S. Foner; Robert James Branham | Go to book overview

will address you with more interest than I can (hear, hear), I will make but one remark more, and that respects the designs of this Society with regard to Africa. O, bleeding, suffering Africa! We hear of the sad condition which that country is in; it is enveloped in darkness infinitely deeper than the sable hue of its degraded sons. The vilest superstition there abounds; and hence this Society represents it as their object to let in the rays of the gospel, and enlighten the people. But, according to their own reports, whom do they select as instruments to spread civilization and christianity? People not fit to live in America--people who are a disgrace to that country. (Hear, hear.) I pity Africa as much as any man; I want her to be enlightened; but let us send men who are enlightened themselves. If we mean to evangelize Africa, let us at least send Christians there to do the work. (Cheers.)

Mr. Garrison has well remarked that the free people of color in the United States are opposed to this Society. I will venture to assert that I am as extensively acquainted with them, throughout both the free and slave States, as any man in that country; and I do not know of a solitary colored individual who entertains the least favorable view of the American Colonization Society; but, in every way they possibly could, they have expressed their disapprobation of it. They have said to the Society, "Let us alone."

The argument which is brought by the friends of the Society in favor of colonization is, that the white population of America can never amalgamate or live on terms of equality with the blacks. Be it so. Let it be admitted that their prejudices are strong. All that I will say is, that if such be the case, they ought not to send an agent to this country to ask assistance to enable them to gratify a prejudice of which they ought to be ashamed.■


22 WHAT IF I AM A WOMAN?

Maria W. Stewart

This speech contains Stewart's most comprehensive discussion of the need for women--and especially African American women-- to participate in politics and social change. She draws inspiration from the past achievements of women in many nations and ages, asking: "What if such women as are here described should rise among our sable race?"

In her farewell address, delivered on September 21, 1833, Stewart alludes to the difficulties she had faced in Boston, which remained a segregated city. "During the short period of my Christian warfare," she la-

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