Christian Recorder: January 10, 1863
Turner writes about the happenings in Washington, DC.
MR. EDITOR:--The time has come in the history of this nation, when the down trodden and abject black man can assert his rights, and feel his manhood. No longer can the men of our race be legally made to quaff up the scorn and derisions of a misanthrope rabble, many of whom are so inexplicably depauperated from licentious lives and devilish habit, that if they were sent as delegates to form an integral pat of a dog’s assembly, or sent as ambassadors to the wild cats of the forest, they would be denounced as trying to insinuate themselves into ranks superior.
The proclamation of President Lincoln reaches the most forlorn condition, in which our people are placed. When he finished it, and reclined himself back in his chair, the Jubilee commenced in every celestial sphere, where freedom’s grand and depictless immunities are realized and enjoyed. The angelic hand in helmed array, whose war implements glittered as he watch fires of the sky, and hitherto drawn in martial protection, around him who was ordained by God to free the oppressed, burst forth in exclamations of greater ecstasy, than usually enrapture their heavenly environed brow. The first day of January, 1863, is destined to from one of the most memorable epochs in the history of the world.
It should form an era in the data of every colored man, and he annually celebrated with as much respect, as the Americans do the fourth of July, or as the English do the day of the discovery of the thirty barrels of powder, which were in 1605 placed under the Parliament in view of utterly demolishing the last vestige of protestant sympathy. That proclamation will constitute the moral basis of all similar exigencies, as long as men press one another beneath the grind of a despotic wheel. The Moors of France, and Serbs of Russia, though liberated under circumstances, not so free from the evidence of a providential interpolation, as some have assumed, will only be known among the ordinary things of time, compared to the grand overture, which necessarily must mark and signalize the liberty of the bond-oppressed mystic Israelites. The seeds of freedom which are ever rejuvenescent in themselves, have now been scattered where despotism and tyranny ranked and ruled, will be watered by the enlivening dews of God’s clemency, till the reapers (abolitionists) shall about the harvest home.
Through some misunderstanding the people of Washington did not celebrate the new year as many of our cities have done. This was not, however, the result of ingratitude to God or the President, but owing to apprehensions of danger, which I think were more chimerical than real. They meet, however, on Thursday night in mass, at Israel church, to devise some plan, by which an expression of our sentiments can be heard.
The Contraband Relief Association have organized themselves into an Exhibiting Association, and are giving concerts for the benefit of the contraband, known as the old folks concerts. They gave two exhibitions in 15th St. Presbyterian church, which were so largely patronized, that hundreds had to leave, who could obtain no admission. Indeed the house was so densely crammed that those inside were very disagreeable. The old folks, however, accepted themselves admirable, and made some $300 for the object of humanity, for which the Secretary of War complimented their efforts in the most applaudatory terms. I am not able in this correspondence to designate the parties, who so very pleasurable executed their respective performances on the two evenings, but will endeavor to do it in my next.
The ladies of Israel church are holding a fair, which has been very largely attended, by many of our most popular citizens, white and colored.
I received last week, in behalf of the contrabands, a very large box of goods from Bordentown, New Jersey, sent by the liberal flock of Rev. Jeremiah Young. The box contained some 300 paces of most valuable materials, which appear to have been forwarded by the special efforts of Rev. Jeremiah Young, President Gideon Lewis, Secretary Joseph Green, Treasurer, and a committee consisting of Mrs. E. Colling, Mrs. B. Wood, Mrs. A M. Crippin.
Any thing complimentary from me would be superfluous. The act speaks its merit, and God himself will take cognizance of it, only to bless and reward.
The colored convention met at Zion Wesley Church, on Tuesday night last, and resolved upon the erection, as soon as possible of a hospital for the sick, afflicted, and destitute. They resolved that each delegate should advance ten dollars, as a beginning, to the sum of $5000, which they think will be required to complete the object in contemplation.
The Rev. Caleb Woodyard spoke in Israel church a few weeks ago, and made some very scathing remarks, about colored people being refused a seat in the city cars. His tirade was very bitter at the time, but sweetness grew out of it, for several have been since informed, that there was no law to keep us out, but if we waited for them to take us up, and set us in and then rule us too, we would have to wait some time yet.
Hon. J. D. Johnson of Liberia is here again. I am informed he contemplates a heavy lawsuit, with the gentlemen with whom he had an altercation some time ago.
Prof. A. M. Green, whose name is so revered in Washington, is looked for here every week.
Several colored men in this city say they are now ready for the battlefield. Abraham Lincoln can get any thing he wants from the colored people here, from a company to a corps I would not be surprised to see myself carrying a musket before long.
H. M. T.
Washington, Jan. 4, 1863