Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

the result. And seeing that this is our status in the United States today, it devolves upon us to project a remedy for our condition, if such a remedy is obtainable, or demand of this nation, which owes us billions of dollars for work done and services rendered, five hundred million dollars to commence leaving it; or endorse the petition of the colored lawyers' convention, which was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, asking Congress for a billion dollars for the same purpose. For I can prove, by mathematical calculation, that this nation owes us forty billion dollars for daily work performed.

The one great desideratum of the American Negro is manhood impetus. We may educate and acquire general intelligence, but our sons and daughters will come out of college with all their years of training and drift to the plane of the scullion, as long as they are restricted, limited and circumbounded by colorphobia. For abstract education elevates no man, nor will it elevate a race. What we call the heathen African will strut around in his native land, three fourths naked, and you can see by the way he stands, talks and acts, that he possesses more manhood than fifty of some of our people in this country, and any ten of our most distinguished colored men here; and until we are free from menace by lynchers, hotels, railroads, stores, factories, restaurants, barbershops, courthouses and other places, where merit and worth are respected, we are destined to be a dwarfed people. Our sons and daughters will grow up with it in their very flesh and bones.

Gentlemen of the National Council, I leave the grave, solemn and awful subject with you.■


131 THE ETHICS OF THE HAWAIIAN QUESTION

William Saunders Scarborough

William Saunders Scarborough was born near Macon, Georgia, February 16, 1852, the son of a free black father and an enslaved mother. He took his mother's status, as the law required. After the Civil War, he studied at schools established by the Freedmen's Bureau and was the first graduate of Atlanta University. He continued his studies at Oberlin College, from which he graduated in 1875, and, though only twenty-three, became professor of Latin and Greek at Wilberforce University in Ohio. To help his students, Scarborough wrote a textbook, First Lessons in Greek, which was widely used as a textbook in both

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