The American Colonization Society

The American Colonization Society – Letter from Dr. H.M. Turner

Savannah Colored Tribune: February 19, 1876

SIR – In your issue of the 29th ult., you did me the honor of noticing my election to the Vice Presidency of the Colonization Society, and proceeded to say:

“But we trust the Doctor will reflect well before he attempts to work in the interest of the Society in this State, etc.

I beg to say, I have been reflecting upon the status of the negro in this country for many years, and the more I reflect, the more I am convinced that his days are few and evil, on the soil he is now trying to eke out an existence. I believe that extermination or re-enslavement is only a question of time, if we in spite of what ought to be our better sense attempt to remain here: our salvation as a race depends upon a negro nationality, either in Africa or in South America, the path to the latter of which is found up the Amazon river.

Whether I shall work in the interest of the Society in Georgia or no is yet to be settled. But if my life is spared a few years, I expect to see the editor of the Tribune at work for that or some other Society. When Mr. Toombs gets his new Constitution adopted, I hope he will succeed, I want the colored people to see the sleazyness of their condition here. I am startled at times at the ignorance displayed by many of our prominent colored men, upon the real condition of our race in this country. Don’t you see it’s a white’s man Government? And don’t you see they mean at all hazards to keep the negro down? And don’t you see the negro does not intend to stay down, without a fuss and an interminable broil? Then why waste our time in trying to stay here? Why not do as the white settlers of this country did, leave and build up a country and Government of our own; and have our own negro Presidents, Governors, Judges, Congresses, Legislatures, etc; yes, kings and queens if we chose. Then, and not till then, will the nations of earth respect us, and admire our manhood and genius.

I have accepted the Vice Presidency of the Colonization Society, and hereby proclaim myself ready to defend the position. And while I shall not notice flings and slurs, I shall watch gentlemanly assailants with a jealous eye.

With much esteem for you personally,

I am very truly,

H.M. Turner