Emigration of the Colored People of the United States
Is it expedient? 

If so where to?

Prepared by request for the Colored National Conference to meet in Nashville, Tenn., May 6th, 1879.

By Rev. H. M. Turner, LL. D.

N.B. – Only three hundred copies of this letter were printed and sent to the Nashville Conference, as the auther could not attend it in person. But such has been the deman for it in different parts of the country, some offering $5.00 for a copy, that I concluded to print a thousand more, and sell them for 10 cents each.
May 20th, 1879.

To the National Conference of Colored Men,

To be held at Nashville, Tenn., May 6th, 1879.


I very gratefully accept the tender made me, through a member of your Committee of Arrangements, *(Rev. J.C. Embry, Kansas) to prepare a paper upon the propriety, utility and wisdom of emigration to Africa. I trust you will pardon my brevity, for while the subject is inexhaustive, by virtue its inherent merits, I shall not be able to adumbrate so much of them as might be in the sphere of a hasty consideration, my time being so engrossed with official duties.

Colonization, Emigration, Immigration and Migration, are terms so very nearly synonymous, that I shall not consume time to define their shades of distinction.

They all imply the voluntary transition of a people from one continent, country, or locality, to another. A method which, under certain contingencies, has at times been recognized by all nations, as a means of progress and relief from local annoyances, even from the day that God himself inaugurated the measure, at the foor of Babel’s cloud-piercing tower, by sending Japheth into Europe, Shem into Asia, and Ham into Africa.

To emigration, empires, kingdoms, nations and communities owe their birth, their maturity, their greatness, majesty, and their immortality. It has been the primal motor in all ages, among all nations, of all languages, whose people stamped the epochs, eras, and decades of centuries with the evidences of their progress, and mental, moral, social and political elevation.

The voice of history, coming up through hoary millenials, speaking in behalf of extinct nations, and hundreds, which live to-day by reason of embracing the measures of emigration, proclaims the wisdom of its promoters, and the folly of its opposers. The health of the body requires motion; the health of a people requires locomotion. Man, as a mass, needs in process of time new scenes, new air, new vegetation, new springs, and more than all, new blood. Deny him these indispensabilities, and retrogression is the sequel. The Arabs – the only people, possibly, since the Noahican flood, that have never emigrated or encouraged immigration, and who are the same to-day as three thousand years ago would have doubtless been far worse off than they are had it not been for their predatory expeditions or caravans, which made their pillagery in some respects answer for what they lost in non-emigration.

Emigration, or colonization, however, has not always been prompted by a sense of its higher results; various motives have at different periods led to the formation of colonies. Sometimes, as in the case of most of the ancient Greek colonies, they were formed by citizens driven out of their native country by political persecution, such as the colored race here are the unfortunate recipients of. While Rome colonized to extend her territory, and hold in check her subjugated provinces, as England has done with India. The Greek colonies were almost invariably born in political and civil outrage. Their history, however, needs no rehearsal. The mighty men, generals, statesmen, orators, philosophers, bards and sages, that were given to the world from Grecian colonies, are before us, and their immortal names will remain for us for ever.

The Phoenicians, possibly the first maritime nation that recognized colonization in any form, were actuated by commercial considerations. They settled Cyprus, Crete, Sicily, and several islands along the Mediterranean, and on the southwestern coast of Spain. Much the most important of their colonies was Carthage, which, in turn, sent forth other colonies, till five hundred years before Christ.

Prior to the birth of the Roman Empire, the aborigines of Italy had a system of colonization. At certain annual festivals, the surplus young men were set apart b religious service and great ceremony, to leave their natal soil and seek fortunes elsewhere. By so doing they became the owners of models for their mother country; especially did it serve to make the young men self-reliant, and implant within them the spirit of independence. You will find one idea running through all the ancient world, that is – independent subsistence; in other words, that every man must make his living by being his own master. To be a contingent laborer, dependent upon the mere whim of another man, was to the ancients very detestable, unless the person was a slave; and for a free person to be such a menial was to subject himself to the status of a slave, therefore they sought the outlets which colonization offered, and found the manhood which a free citizen felt to be his normal inheritance.

Among the Romans homesteads were held in such high esteem that even those conquered by was only lost one-eighth of their landed estates. This was taken by confiscation, yet, where the owner had less than a certain amount, his inheritance, or rather the inheritance of his children, was not disturbed. Even the slave set free for military bravery, or through the generosity of the human master, had to be provided with sufficient soil to produce the necessaries of life, otherwise his liberty was not regarded legitimate.

How unlike the treatment of the colored people of the South! – turned out to die, for all the General Government cared, or the ruling masses of any State of the Union. No provision whatever made for our subsistence, and no facilities allowed for subsisting ourselves, except what was scorned by the heathen world, to be perpetual servants.

We have seen from the foregoing remarks, 1st. That colonization has the sanction of heaven, and has been the theory, as well as a cardinal practice, of all nations and in all ages; the Arabians being the single exception among the nations of antiquity. 2d. That it is an indispensable pre-requisite to the material, social and intellectual growth of a people, and, as such, is not disgraceful, humiliating, destructive to society, or in contravention to the best means or ends of mankind. 3d. That history affords abundant evidence that a people subjected to ill treatment, persecution, proscription, outrage, and other forms of injustice, though it be in simple manhood recognition, can change localities honorably.

Much has been said in contravention to the colonization or emigration of the colored people from the United States, not only to Africa, but to any place whatever, except to the horse stable or cook kitchen of the white man. The theory of the maligners of this measure has invariably been that the colored people are to the manor bown, and, as such, are citizens of the United States; and any one proposing a change of locality has been censured in immeasurable terms. Strange as it may appear, too, these denunciators have rarely presented an argument in opposition to colonization to which you could apply one rule of the most distorted logic. As a rule they do not want either reason, analogy, precedent, example, or a scintilla of probability. They simply want the carp of the cynic, and the billingsgate of the profane. I so judge because they have rarely employed anything else in support of their opposition.

The main object against which the contemners of colonization, however, have leveled their shafts of vengeance, has been the American Colonization Society. The traducers of the measure have uniformly screened themselves behind the antecedents of a few rabid slaveholders, who had done some ugly thing, or made some fanatical remark, yet were supporters of this society.

I shall not attempt to defend the American Colonization Society; I am trying to support a principle much higher than any single Society. But grant that the American Colonization Society has had a few bad men in its ranks, what would that argue? Nothing more than that they were himan; and that imposters, corrupt and vicious men have crept into every organization since the beginning of time began – even into the disciplehood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us, however, look into a few of the men and motives which formed the substratum of this Society; for they are both analyzable, for a cadaver that will not bear the sharpest knife in its anatomization, is a dangerous piece of putrescence, and needs to be shunned.

This Society appears to have had its origin in the efforts of Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D.D., of Newport, R.I., for the prevention of the Slave trade, and the abolition of Slavery in that State. Dr. Hopkins was before Wilberforce and Clarkson, and shares the glory with the younger Chatham in his mighty battle with the slave trade. It was he, too, who first at his own expense, educated several young colored men for the ministry to carry the Gospel to Africa, and called upon the Legislatures of New England to support a colony upon the western coast of Africa that would inaugurate a scheme for the civilization of that continent. It was he who sent the two first missionaries across the waters to our fatherland, namely: Salmar, Nubia, and Newport Gardener. I ask, does this look like the work of a bad man?

Also let us note the character of such men as Rev. Dr. Stiles, and Dr. William Thornton, his coadjutors in this laudable scheme, men and Christians above reproach or the tongue of defamation.

But it is scarcely necessary that we even descant upon the virtues of such persons as Samuel J. Mills, Ann Mifflin, Rev. Dr. Finley, Elias B. Caldwell, Francis S. Key, Charles F. Mercer, Ebenezer Burgess, and others, whose names and motives none can mention without respect, if not admiration. These names are chief among the promoters of that thought which gave birth to the American Colonization Society; and may I not ask if it would not sound like madness to hear one at this late day charge these sacred characters with vicious intent? For they were the founders of free thought, free speech, and a free literature; and if the leaders of the old abolition party so much lauded, had any virtues at all, they were born in the hearts of the colonization promoters.

Another important character who did as much, possibly, as any man in the already mentioned list, was Capt. Paul Cuffee, a colored gentleman of New Bedford, who, in 1815, carried in his own ship thirty-eight emigrants to Africa. It is said he spent over four thousand dollars to consummate his object. This set it said to have given a favorable impulse to colonization, that secured to the measure able and lasting friends.

Rev. Lott Cary, an eloquent Baptist minister in Richmond, Va., organized an African Missionary Society also in 1815. A band of praying men in the cellar basement of the old African Church, raised by toil and self-denial hundreds of dollars to send the Gospel to the land of their fathers. This was previous to the birth of the Colonization Society. Said Cary formed a small church, and sailed for Africa in 1821. Guided by God the church was planted on the heights of Mount Serrado, where the slave trader had for ages torn away the victims of his cruelty, to become slaves in distant lands. That little church has grown into more than twenty churches, shining in common with other Christian denominations like so many stars in the midnight sky.

But without being fastidiously nice in this narrative, permit me to say that one move evolved another amid the agitation and battle strife which the slave trade provoked, running from 1770 to 1817 – about 50 years – till it terminated in giving birth to the American Colonization Society, which took place Jan. 1st, 1817. As Providence knew that day would ultimately be the great anniversary of American emancipation, it seemed to have been prearranged for a double consecration -0 a day destined to be kept sacred in the annals of the future, and mark an epoch in the history of the colored race never to be effaced.

No one could say that this society has been divested of men with questionable proclivities, and in some instances with predilections and prejudices not sustained by any code of moral ethics – men who were proslavery in principle, and cherished abhorent ideas of caste, and wished to make the society a vehicle to rid a condition that served as a charm upon him, and excited his desire for similar opportunities and privileges, and in that ratio begot his discontent. But does that fact vitiate the purity of its founders; motives or eliminate the good it has achieved, and can any man say good has not resulted from it? Certainly no man could so far forget himself, if he had any reputation for intelligence to risk.

With the parity of reasoning, the slave might have scorned his freedom and refused the results of the war, though it brought the boon of his life, because some of the most poison-hearted anti-negro soldiers went and fought to actualize President Lincoln’s proclamation of freedom.[1] Some of the Union soldiers were the worst villains that ever trod the coil, which cannot be said of the poorest member of the Colonization Society, as they have been mainly the first men of the nation, politically and religiously. Yet what colored person ever denounced his liberty, or who ever stigmatized the liberated, because of the rabble who took part in the late war, and helped to consummate its results? The aphorism “that God sent it, if the devil brought it” has been universally accepted, and will always be.

It is not essential to the purpose in view, however, that I should exhaust the time allotted me in an argumentive defense of the Colonization Society. Its record is before us, and sober reflection will ultimately tell its own story infinitely better than any analysis I may be able to give the subject in a few brief moments. I repeat that my purpose is higher than a mere defense of any one society or corporate organization.

This question at issue is, Should the colored people of this country give any support, countenance or sanctions to African emigration? Despite its contemners and host of animadverters, I affirm they should; that it is a grave and an honorable question, meriting the highest considerations as well as the most favorable investigation, viewed from any aspect whatever. I do no propose to present any arguments, based upon logical deductions, to establish their right of emigration there: their freedom presupposes that right. But the question is, Is it right or even expedient? Are there any features about it commendable? I so believe, and to that point I now propose for a few moments to address myself.

1st. We are the descendants of Africa, and as such have no more cause to abhor the land of our fathers than other races have had. And yet I challenge an instance, since, the dawn of creation, where a people have ridiculed the land of their fathers to the same extent as the American negro. He has a detestation to Africa, too, not from choice or a knowledge of any of its objectionable features, but from a prejudical white rabble, who knew no more about its resources, its wealth and its sanitary advantages than idiots. They contemned the negro in all other respects – his color, his hair, his mouth, nose, leps, heel, language, manner and laugh, and to coronate their scorn and obloquy, they contemn his country.

And we, in our folly, have united with this vicious and garbage-box cavalcade, whereas, if our father land was a desert plain, it ill became us to join in with its defamers; I have heard colored men absolutely charge God with such folly, in their ignorant representations of Africa, that to me it sounded like blasphemy. If it was as hideous as they describe it, no sane man could conlude other than that God was a monster for creating such a place, yet these profaners in some instances knew no more of geography than a man in the moon; they were merely trying to amplify the utterances of some venomous hearted and ignorant headed white maniacs, who were either ventilating their negro-heating spleen, or trying to subserve the purposes of slavery.

Africa has been the domicile of billions, for periods running through the millenniums of years. It is possibly the first spot that kissed the sun, when God said: “Let the dry land appear,” and was the theatre of vegetable and animal life when the western world was sleeping beneath the turbid waters of antiquitous ages. And two hundred millions of our kindred are there still, awaiting the return of her better informed children, who have been in this land at school, to bring them the fruits of our civilization, and a knowledge of our better virtues; they are eager to embrace them as is attested in the invitations for missionaries from every African king and ruler. And can any man say we are not in duty bound to answer this call? But we will answer it, and answer it to the honor of the Prince of Life. The Mayflower brought one church to this country in 1620, and was afterwards converted into a slaver. But it was my privilege in 1878, in Charleston harbor, to stand on the deck of the Azor (the Mayflower of the negro) when Bishop J. M. Brown, D.D., D.C.L., by solemn prayer dedicated that ship to the work of the civilization and evangelization of the first continent upon the face of the globe. The Mayflower brought one church to the shores of America, but the Azor carried two churches in one voyage, to Africa – a Baptist and an African M. E. Church.

2d. Many object to Africa upon the plea of its rumored fatality, that everybody going there prematurely dies. I chall not attempt to refute this falsehood by statistical arguments; it would consume too much time. I will reply by saying the mortality in no part of Africa, neither in Liberia or elsewhere, has ever been anything like that which attended the early settlers at Plymouth Rock, Jamestown, Annapolis, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans and even Louisville, Ky. Says Dr. Leonard Bacon in his Genesis of New England: “Of the one hundred and two pilgrims who came over in the Mayflower in 1620, forty-four died in four months, half in six months, and several more before a year had expired.” Such mortality has never prevailed among the emigrants going to Africa.

Says Bancroft, the great American historian: “Of the one hundred settlers or emigrants who came to Jamestown, Va., in 1607, about thirty-eight say the end of the year,” showing a loss of 62 in that short time.

Another instance more appalling than either of the above, is related by the same historian: which is, that not one of the emigrants that first landed at Annapolis survived till the ship could return from the mother country, to augment their numbers, and being a fresh supply of provision.

But it is needless to continue this striking record of facts, as it would run in startling statistics through the early settlements of this entire country; and if applied to India and Australia, the tale would freeze the clood of some of our never duying race; for we raise more excitement over a little dying than any people under heaven’s broad canopy. Suffice it to say, there is no instance in modern times where the health-scale has run so high in the settlement of colonies by imported emigrants, as it has in Africa; this is true with the colonists of both England and America.

Even the African fever, about which such fatal stories have been told, and which is only indigenous to the western coast, is no more deathly, if so much ,than the country fever, common along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia yet; and was regarded by the early settlers of those States as a plague.

Liberia to-day is no sicklier than the suburbs of some of our own cities, and has never been heir to such dreadful epidemis and iniexplicable plagues as have prevailed in several southern cities in the United States; and all reports to the contrary are false alarms.

But let Liberia be ever so sickly. Liberia is not Africa. Liberia is but a speck upon the face of that unexplored continent. Africa is vastly larger than North America, or North and South America together, and the negro can there rear a nation that shall have a wider territory and a larger population by far. From New York to San Francisco is three thousand miles, but from Liberia across the continent is over four thousand.

3d. The right of a people to emigrate to any country is vested in the inducements offered. Now does emigration to Africa offer any? I assert it does.

In this country, although it is our unquestionable home, we are prescribed from Maine to California; but we are too familiar with that fact and its disagreeable sequences to rehearse them here: to catalogue them, would call for the pen of infamy and the ink of hemlock and bitter gall.

But I contend that this proscription is not the result of color so much as of our poverty, and the absence of a respectable Government at our back, manned by our own race, to give us the prestige of power.

With a country of 500,000 men and women, situated upon the continent of Africa, of medium culture, possessing the elements of greatness by virtue of its civilization, agricultural, mechanical, and commercial prosperity, we could change our social and civil status in a week. The transition would be marvelous. Such a country or community would effect good situated elsewhere; but to my understanding, Africa is the most inviting field for such a project. Such an experiment would not require, either, the removal of one-fourth of the colored people from the United States, for a comparatively few would effect the object. This is the most minified view we could take of the pending question, yet it would be ample to consummate for those who remain a far higher status than we have at present.

Men respect power; they may admire education, virtue, beauty, food manners and social embellishments, but till you show people power, they place a poor estimate upon you. As we are the most impotent and uninfluential of any member in the family of the United States, and in that ratio, less potential for good or evil, is it not out duty to put in operation such forces, experiments and expediencies as we find have been adopted by other races and oppressed people, to wring recognition from mankind in general? As I see it, we must either rebel at home or seek fortunes elsewhere. We can never acquire power sitting here quietly as menials. “Fight or run, if you will be free,” is a maxim hoary with age. If the colored people of this country do not intend to fight the outrages to which they have been subjected, then, if they want to be free men, they must run for it.

There is no precedent among nations for being quiet. Be still, while you are goaded on every side on every side , is the jargon of fools and poltroons. The language of manhood is, “Give me liberty, ot give me death.” A country built up in Africa to repectable proportions would be to us power in front, and respect in the rear. Besides, such a country would be an outlet for our coming young men. It would open a great commercial mart for the products of that, the richest of all divisions of the globe. It would be a theatre for colored officials, merchants, inventors, artisans, as well as the place where our meritorious men and women could have their names wove into prose and song, and from that centre, radiate to earth’s remotest bounds.

4th. We boast of our citizenship, our civil and political rights, and legal claim to a share of the honors and glories of this country; but what does our boast amount to? Nothing but dry bombast. We are ignored by every party , and in every department of the nation. There are at least 75,000 Government officers in the United States, and out of that number, less than one hundred are colored; wherras our pro-rata share would give us over 9000 officers. Such men as Gov. Pinchback, Gov. Gleaves, Hons. R. B. Elliott, J. F. Long, and scores of others, some of whom are able, learned, and fitted for any position, if it was for the Presidency itself, ought to have first-class positions in every department of the Government; but instead, I do no know of ten first-class colored men who are holding positions under the Goverment. We are as justly entitled to a cabinet position as those who fought to tear down the nation.

The fact is, the colored people need expect nothing in this country expect what they get themselves, or through themselves. Of all the colored men who have been elected to offices in this country, viz., to Congress, great statesman Senator Blaine, whose speech in Philadelphia might freeze the blood of a fiend if it had any, in his narrartive of southern horrors. Would any one say that the one hundredth part of these persons would have been dead had they gone to any part of Africa? Why, gentlemen, to me it looks cruel, wicked, inexcuseably foolish, to tell our people to stay in this “mock of a country, this sham of a nation, this botch of a government.? ( I use the language of a Democratic Congressman, as he ought to know.) Compare, if you choose, the reign of Bloody Queen Mary, who put to death some three hundred Protectants, and the administrations of either Andrew Johnson or General Grant, under whose executive terms tens of thousands were killed simply for their political opinions, and Queen Mary’s reign bleaches into snow.

I assert and defy contradictions that in this country the negro is an outlaw. He has no rights which white men need respect, or do respect. He is tried before white juries of the meaner sort, sentenced in most instances by unjust judges to the torture of hell itself, for the most trivial crimes, and ofttimes for no crime at all. His right to vote is a farce. They will kill a negro at the polls, and arrest forty others, and send half to prison to cover up their infamy by charging insurrection upon them. In several States we are thrust into dirty, filthy cares, while we pay equal with the whites, where our wives and daughters are blackguarded and insulted by the meanest whit roughs in creation. But why attempt to enumerate the infinite ills that beset us at every step? We had as well try to count the stars, or number the sands of the sea-shore.

6th. Many object to African emigration upon the ground of our poverty; they say we are too poor. Yes, but are we any poorer than the majority of whites were, who first settled in this country? Not by any means. We are told by history that thousands landed here without a cent, with wives and children, too, dependent upon them. All new countries have been settled and built up by poor people. Rich men may invest in its commerce, mines, products, etc., but the settlers are invariably poor. The same way rich men have incested in the probable wealth of other countries, they would in the prospects of African wealth. Indeed, thousands have done it already, and thousands more would be glad to do the same, if a chance was opened.

But grant we are poor, let us do as the Israelites did when leaving Egypt: ask for assistance or means from the people whom we have been serving for two hundred and forty-six years, and as they did, so will we obtain jewels of silver, jewels of gold and precious valuables.

This nation owes us enough to start us in life, even as a nation, if we will but ask for it; and it will come in some way inkown to us at present. Be that way of State aid, national, legislation, but come it will. Scientists tell us that the positive and negative forces in nature are perpetually moving all things in search of an equilibrium. Theologians tell us that the justice of God is this propelling force in human affairs. Now take either aspects of the question, and we are led to believe that we shall, sooner or later, be remunerated for our toil and labors in this country, though we were slaves in the eyes of men.

This involves the question of what does the nation owe us? Let us give a minimum answer – an answer to which no reasonable person can object. The first negroes were brought to this country in 1620. They remained here in a state of slavery, until 1866, making a term of unrequited servitude of two hundred and forty-six years. At the time of their liberation they numbered four million six hundred thousand. Let us now cut off the forty-six years, and limit our servitude to two hundred years only, and to equipoise the numerical strength of our population, we will also cut off two million six hundred thousand, and suppose there were two million six hundred thousand, and suppose there were two million of us here in slavery for a term of two hundred years. And to give to each of us , the lowest possible value, which, to be in bounds, we will put at the annual hire of women, in anti-bellum days, each of whom averaged about one hundred dollars per year. This is to my certain knowledge. And at this minimum calculation, this country owes us forty billions of dollars – an amount that is amazing to think of, I confess. Yet, unless the Justice of God goes into that sum in one way or another, upon the very race it has so long been holding in subjection.

I contend we have a right to demand so much of that forty billion as will start us in a national life. Better that the country pay it to us than pay it out for us in some way that will incolce its reputation; for there will be no peace in this land until the manhood claim of the negro is recognized, or he leaves the bondage.

Had I the ear of the whites of this country, I would tell them that the sooner they opeed the treasury of the nation and aid those who desire to leave, the sooner will peace, prosperity and harmony precail in all section of the land. One of three thinds has to come, either a wholesale intermarriage of whites and blacks, and the abolition of all caste prejudices, and a general social relation established, or they must help us to go to ourselves; for we will not remain here forever as foot-balls and spittoon-lickers. Some of our people may do it; but those of us who have grit wand backbone will not. If that is not done, they had as well make up their minds to kill us out; for our children will die before they will ever endure what we have; and, as one, I hope they will. I think it my duty to so instruct my children, and shall not fail to do it.

7th. No people need expect justice in a country where all the law officers are of a different race. White people would not get it where the executive, legislative and judicial officials were all black; nor will we get it, as we too well know, where they are all white. Nor do the whites intend we shall ever have justice, otherwise they would not in nearly every state in the union resort to the vilest means of to prevent us from being jurors. This is done as strenuously where the cause of action is solely with the colored as when it involves an issue between both races; showing conclusively that they do not mean right under any circumstances whatever; for it they did, why not reverse this rule sometimes, and let a colored jury determine a few white cases?

But such a thing has never been heard of in this country, otherwise a howl would been raised all over this land, and such a revolution as it would have produced has never been heard of in this country, and who could blame them? They have a right to be tried by a jury composed in aprt, at least, not only of their own peers, but their own race. And, if we would do right – yes , is we were the men we ought to be – we would either have a race representative upon the juries that try us for our lives and all that is dear to man – his liberty – or set fire to every court house that dares open its doors, to put our people through the farce of a trial. There is no justice for us where we have no representative, except in the court of the God of the universe. And will you tell me to sit still and wait for better times, trust God, and pray? Such language is the wildest jargon. God would help us inifinitely more by leaving such a country, than by preaching up endurance. The truth is, there is no virtue in such submission. It is just to the reverse. It is unpardonable, inexcusable, and debasing cowardice – the very thing God and nature abhors. There is not an instance in the history of men where a people ever overcame the ills that fettered them, unless they fought or emigrated to another locality. And, I repeat, that African emigration is the surest, quickest, most peaceable, most dignified, and most religious way out of our troubles.

8th. According to the newspaper reports, there is quite an exodus to the West. Thousands of our people are flying to Kansas, and to other Western States; many, too, without the means of subsistence for even a limited time. Let them go, and bid them God speed, all honor to their manhood. They are flying from injustice and wrong in every form – they are seeking the means of life, the liberties of freemen, the rights of citizens, the comforts of home, the boon of independence, the paths of elevation, the road to distinction, and, above all, a place where they can school their children and serve God in peace. Foolish and wicked men may say what they please; but they had as well tell me that the planets are tired of their orbits as to tell me our people are tired of the South. They love the South better than gold or precious gems. Born and raised in South Carolina, as I was, and living in Georgia, as I do, I know the feelings of my race; and they would never leave the South if they saw any hope for them; but they see none, and thus the exodus. Nevertheless it will only give temporary relief. The whites will crowd us out there ultimately, or subject us to the same evils, in a measure at least, that we are now trying get rid of. And these same people, in less than fifty years, will be in search of Africa. They will, however, be far more able to go than at the present.

But let them go anywhere, rather than die in dastardly, cowardly and pusillanimous degradation. It is a very easy thing for some of our colored dignitaries, who are either in a state of fossilation or wish to pander to a class of whites, to stand away from danger and advise the colored people of the South to be still, disapprove of emigration, and hurl their bitter adjectives at the movement. But it is another thing to ho in their midst, be one of them, bear, suffer, andure and die with them. They are the men the Southern negro will listen to, and they are the men he ought to listen to. I thank no man to stand on the moon and song psalms to me, while I am contending with a cyclone or an earthquake.

9th. Lastly, I do not generally deal in imaginary fancies, or draw dark pictures for pastime. But there are terrible times ahead; another internecine was is bound to come, and that speedily. The aspect of public affairs indicate it to precision. Besides. The history of the world shows that one rebellion always succeeds another, if the first was a failure. I challenge an instance to the contrary. The threatening signs are now everywhere bicker-skirmishing before us; there is no help for it. The instability of our Government will evolve it, the innocent blood that has been shed demands it, the justice of God requires it, the pented ire of insulted heaven will urge it, and the speechless though not lifeless counterbalancing forces of nature will drive it. Yes, it will come! It will come! But in the next revolution the negro will not be a neutral spectator. He will have to suffer too, in this upheaval and rocking reign of terror, fight and die possibly, to aid in his firther degradation, and for all we know to rivet upon him the gyves of his perpetual debasement. I ask if it would not be infinitely more wise to emigrate to Africa or anywhere, if you choose, than to remain here in the face of such impending and fearful hazards?

This is but a sketch of what I would like to say, but it must suffice.

Hoping you may have a pleasant meeting, and that much good may result from your deliberations,

I am, with high esteem,

H. M. Turner,

May 3d, 1879. Of Georgia.

[1] Emancipation Proclamation, see https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=34


Turner, Henry McNeal. Emigration of the Colored People of the United States. The Henry McNeal Turner Project. (1879, May 6). http://www.thehenrymcnealturnerproject.org/2019/03/emigration-of-colored-people-of-united.html

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