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- The Democratic Return to Power: January 1885
The Democratic Return to Power
AME Church Review Vol. 1, January 1885
You ask what are my views of the political situation of the country, as it relates to the colored people, since the election of Mr. Cleveland? And what effect will the democracy in power have upon the destiny of the Negro?
1. Since the Supreme Court of the United States in a decision it took about seven minutes to read, sold out at publication seven millions of my race, and wickedly, cruelly and infernally turned us over to the merciless vengeance of the white rabble of the country, a crime more infamous in its character than was ever charged upon the devil or any of his sub alternates, I have given the status of the country very little consideration politically or otherwise. I care nothing about it, wish it nothing but ill and endless misfortune, blotted from the pages of history. A man who loves a country that hates him, is a human dog and not a man. Therefore, you can readily realize that I am in no mood to give an opinion, touching any political or civil phase of the nation, yet, I am in as good a mood as any other Negro possessing the instincts of a common humanity ought to be.
2. The defeat of the Republican Party in the late election is due to its treachery towards the Negro. It was formed in the Providence of God to free the Negro and to saturate the institutions of the Nation with equal and exact justice to all men; and the moment it sanctioned discrimination, proscription and injustice, and sought to rear up a Solid North against a Solid South, thus leaving the race exposed to the fury of their enemies, then Providence injects another course of events. He permits treacherous white Republicans to lead the party to destruction; that was exhibiting such blatant-faced treachery towards black Republicans. Beecher, Schurz, Conkling and Co., were indispensable instruments in the hands of God, to punish perfidiousness by their party desertions, for the crime of party desertion. Thus it was not a Democratic victory as such, but the Democrats have been resurrected by the aid of treacherous Republicans to serve the purpose of a scourge upon a treacherous party.
3. I see no serious results likely to occur, from the late election that will likely damage the peace and happiness of the Negro. He had to struggle single and alone against all the prejudice of the land before, and will have to do the same in the future. He lived by the grace of the white man without any civil rights, or protected political rights before and can do the same in the future. The whites of the South have made loud declarations of proffered kindness since the late election, and I have no doubt of their intentions to observe the same, at least for a time. They are too shrewd to hazard very many outrages, if disposed, for several years to come, for fear it might recoil upon them and drive them from power, and while trying to behave for a time for prudential reason, they may learn to behave for all time to come, so that the change which has taken place, may help to educate another side of the American people, which in the past have felt no concern, no responsibility. I believe the Negro will receive more personal kindness throughout the South, than has been accorded to him since the war. The southern Whites are determined to make the black man feel if possible, that they are better friends of the Negro race, than the northern Whites; therefore I look for a general reform in the treatment of the Negro South.
4. As to the tariff question, it will not affect the Negro in the least. If anything, free trade will help him. He will get far more as an equivalent for his cotton South, in which he principally deals, and fare as well as the white waiters North in which he there principally deals. Far South the Negro is a cotton producer and North he is a waiter. I am aware he follows other trades and avocations, but in the aggregate he is a cotton producer and a waiter. The mechanics, artisans, and manufacturers are whites in the aggregate, and they alone must vie with foreign paupers in the skilled trades, and suffer for their own folly.
If they had rather pauperize labor and make the rich richer, and the poor poorer, than treat a few colored paupers justly, let them proceed to their hearts’ content. The Negro has nothing to lose by free trade, but very much to gain.
Therefore, I see no very great harm in store for the colored man, more than now exist at all events I need not repeat my well known convictions as to the future of the race I think our stay in this country is but temporary at most. Nothing will remedy the evils of the Negro but a great Christian nation upon the continent of Africa.
White is God in this country and black is the Devil. White is perfection, greatness, wisdom, industry, and all that is high and holy. Black is ignorance, degradation, indolence, and all that is low and vile, and three-fourths of the colored people of the land do nothing day and night but cry: Glory, honor, dominion, and greatness to White. Many of our so-called leading men are contaminated with this accursed disease, or folly as well as the thoughtless masses; and as long as such a sentiment pervades the colored race, the powers of heaven cannot elevate him. No race of people can rise and manufacture better conditions while they hate and ignore themselves. A man must believe he is somebody before he is acknowledged to be somebody. Hundreds of our most educated young men will put on as many airs over a position that requires them to dust the clothes of white men, as a superior man would over an appointment to the President’s Cabinet. I deny that God himself could make a great man out of such a character without a miracle. I do not desire to make this communication too long, but neither the Republican nor Democratic Party can do for the colored race what they can do for themselves.