Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.

In conclusion, may I repeat that nothing in thirty years has given us more hope and encouragement, and drawn us so near to you of the white race, as this opportunity offered by the Exposition; and here bending, as it were, over the altar that represents the results of the struggles of your race and mine, both starting practically empty-handed three decades ago, I pledge that in your effort to work out the great and intricate problem which God has laid at the doors of the South, you shall have at all times the patient, sympathetic help of my race; only let this be constantly in mind, that, while from representations in these buildings of the product of the field, of forest, of mine, of factory, letter and art, much good will come, yet far above and beyond material benefits will be that higher good, that, let us pray God, will come in a blotting-out of sectional differences and racial animosities and suspicions, in a determination to administer absolute justice, in a willing obedience among all classes to the mandates of law. This, this coupled with our material prosperity, will bring into our beloved South a new heaven and a new earth.■


134 A PLEA AGAINST THE DISFRANCHISEMENT OF THE NEGRO

Thomas E. Miller

After the overthrow of Radical Reconstruction in South Carolina, the conservative white element continued to govern the state under the constitution of 1868 adopted by black and white delegates. In 1892, however, the extreme white supremacists, led by U.S. senator Benjamin R. "Pitchfork" Tillman, gained control of the legislature and by a small majority in 1894 carried the referendum for a new convention on the issue of restricting the black vote and delivering South Caro

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