The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

68. Samuel Ringgold Ward to Frederick Douglass March 1855

The second installment of Ward "Modern Negro" series appeared in the 13 April issue of Frederick Douglass' Paper. Ward continued his earlier discussion of the need for black equality, this time focusing on the unequal treatment of blacks in American reform circles. The immediacy of Ward's remarks stemmed from the actions of Garrisonian abolitionist Parker Pillsbury, who had recently challenged the antislavery commitment of some black abolitionists in Britain. Ward, in turn, questioned the commitment of Pillsbury and other Garrisonians to full racial equality. In a separate column, Douglass praised Ward's boldness and accuracy, although intimating to readers that black antislavery workers like Ward were needed "at home." A third installment to the "Modern Negro" series, comparing the black and "Anglo-Saxon" races, appeared the following week. Additional installments were promised but were never published. FDP, 13, 20 April 1855; NASS, 28 October 1854.

LONDON, [ England]
March, 1855

DEAR SIR:

I beg to thank your compositor for the general accuracy with which he transferred my miserable scrawl to type. He mistook me, however, in one trivial matter, to which I ask attention. He puts the world "ancient," instead of "decent," in the sentence where I compare the natives of our fatherland, Africa, with other heathen. I meant to say, they are as decent as any heathen--quite as decent as were the heathen progenitors of the haughty, self-complacent Anglo-Saxons. But, it ill becomes me to complain of your compositor, when he makes you say, in your Tremont Temple Speech, 1 that Job said, "All that a man hath will be give for his life," while Holy Writ attributes that sentence to Satan!

I hope I may rely upon your usual kindness, in allowing me a somewhat wide range in the discussion of this subject.

In addition to what was said in No. 1, allow me to add, that, now is the time for the negro to vindicate his manhood and his equality to all others, when we see among anti-slavery men, leaders, some of them some vital defects, as I deem them. I will, for the present, confine my remarks to but two classes of anti-slavery people, as illustrative of my idea. I mean the American Quakers and the Garrison Abolitionists. Other areas are as bad, but I choose to refer just now to these. Of the former, I think it may be said without the fear of contradiction, that the

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