Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

mained in Egypt and mourned, and God told them to come forth, but they passed through many bloody struggles before they reached Canaan. War is an evil, but of "two evils we are to choose the lesser." All war does not mean bloodshed; the Reformation under Luther was a bloodless battle, but it threw off the yoke of bondage. All war does not mean reeking battlefields and clashing arms, but a struggle for right against wrong, and truth against error. Let our people in those localities where there is no hope of building up themselves leave and locate where they can get property and educate their children for the coming crisis, get education and money. Knowledge is power; so is money. Wealth is the king whose scepter sways over all classes--the rich and poor, young and old, white and black--all. We must look out for ourselves; we have been taking care of the white people for over 270 years; it is now time for us to build for ourselves and the future. We are 7,000,000 strong, interwoven into the being of this republic; we are in their blood, their homes, their schools, their courts; with them, waking or sleeping, in their downsitting and uprising; we are irrepressible--almost omnipresent--they cannot kill us out, for the more they hang the more numerous the army becomes. Extermination won't do; lynching won't do; intimidation won't do. Nothing but giving him what is justly his as a citizen, if he is a foreigner-- and he is not. Assimilate him; make him a part; don't try to throw him off. There is no enmity strong enough, for he is in the blood and bone of the nation, and if left undisturbed, will do no harm; but if stirred may grasp the pillars, like Samson of old, of our temple's liberties and leave a shapeless mass of confusion at our feet.

Righteousness exalteth a nation. It is only when men recognize God that they rise; only when they walk the paths that Jehovah points out that they live and die in peace. It is the Gospel that saves men, and it is the Gospel of righteousness that brings that happy period when men shall learn war no more, but beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.■


124 IT IS TIME TO CALL A HALT

T. Thomas Fortune

The first major black protest organization after the Reconstruction period was the National Afro-American League. The League was initiated by T. Thomas Fortune, the editor of the New York Age. Born in slavery in 1856 in Florida and with little formal education, Fortune

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