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Title: The Disadvantages and Opportunities of the Colored Youth
Author: Ransom, R. C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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 --OF THE--
Colored Youth,



The first four chapters of this booklet comprise a series of Sunday
evening lecture sermons delivered in St. John's A. M. E. Church,
Cleveland, Ohio, in the month of April, 1894. They are published at
the urgent request of scores of persons who heard them delivered.
They were delivered extemporaneously, as all my sermons are, and
appear here as they were taken down by the stenographers. No revision
has been attempted. The intelligent reader will readily detect many
imperfections both in matter and style. They were not given with a
view to exhaustive treatment or literary excellence, but for the
encouragement and inspiration of the young people of my congregation.
If, appearing in this form, these lectures reach a larger audience
and strengthen the faith of any who are loosing confidence in the
future progress of my race, I shall be abundantly repaid for the small
labor they have cost me. The last chapter of this book, entitled "The
Fifteenth Amendment," was delivered in response to a toast at the
Lincoln Banquet, held at Columbus, Ohio, February 14, 1893, under the
auspices of The Ohio Republican League. It is given here because it
harmonizes with the subject which gives title to this book. We have not
sought in these pages to give a solution to the "race problem," for
after all attempts at solution it remains the great unsettled question
of our times. But we believe that our youth, by "taking advantage of
their disadvantages," and improving the opportunities at hand, can do
much to overcome the impediments by which our pathway has been so long

R. C. R.

Race Soil.

     "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy
     nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises
     of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous

     _1 Peter 2:9._

I begin this evening a series of Sunday evening lecture sermons, with a
definite purpose in view, which I hope to develop and make more clear,
as I shall proceed with their delivery. The subject to-night is "Race
Soil." As a basis or foundation upon which to stand, we call your
attention to the first epistle of Peter, second chapter and the ninth
verse: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him
who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light."

The history of races and nations proves that some peoples are
especially endowed for the germination and production of certain
great ideas. Viewed in this light, do the nations of the past possess
historic value and interest to succeeding generations of mankind.

The value of an idea, the truth of a dogma, the greatness of an
achievement, do not receive their permanent value by the estimate
which the present places upon them. Proud and boastful nations have
proclaimed by the trumpet's blast, by columns of marble, by the poet's
song and the painter's brush, deeds that they thought to be immortal,
but the trumpet's blast has been unable to reach posterity, the poets
muse is found to have been uninspired, men smile at the sculptured and
painted dreams whose spectered faces look upon a new born time.

Let no man, or race or nation fear that posterity will fail to place
the proper estimate upon the greatness and value of their achievements.

The final verdict of history cannot be bought, posterity cannot be
bribed, neither predjudice, jealousy nor envy can hide from future ages
a truth or an achievement that is worthy to survive; nor can wealth or
power or boasting pride give immortality to that which is unable to

The verdict of the ages is the high court from which men and nations
cannot appeal; it is also the court to which those who are not time
servers, but who act as though conscious that the eternities will
review their lives, may confidently appeal.

We have said that the history of races proves that some peoples are
especially endowed for the germination and production of certain great
ideas. This truth will be more clearly seen by taking a passing glance
at the contributions which the historic nations of antiquity have made
to the civilization and progress of mankind.


God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and established him as a
foundation upon which to build a nation. He chose him because of all
the men then upon the earth, he as an inspired religious thinker was
best fitted to restore faith in the world and the worship of the one
God, because Abraham possessed within him that soil most congenial
to the development and growth of the spiritual idea--Abraham is the
spiritual father of the Jews, and they are the spiritual progenitors
of all those nations, tribes and peoples who now acknowledge "A
personal God, supreme and eternal in the universe which He created."
In what does the greatness of the Jew consist? What great and lasting
contribution has the Israelitish nation made to the development and
progress of mankind? "The greatness of the Jew does not consist
of political ascendancy, not in great attainments in the arts and
sciences, nor in cities and fortresses and chariots and horses, nor in
that outward splendor which will attract the gaze of the world, and
thus provoke conquests and political combination and grand alliances
and colonial settlements by which the capitol on Zion's hill would
become another Rome or Tyre or Carthage or Athens or Alexandria, but
quite another kind of greatness. It was to be moral and spiritual."
This was the grand destiny of the Jewish race.


The Greeks gave us culture. God placed them in their little strip of
island home, where the sky over head spoke to them both by night and by
day of beauty--theirs was a land of widely extended coast line, having
islands scattered like seeds in the midst of the Ægean sea, along the
shores of which her poets mused while listening to the "multitudinous
laughter of the sea." They had a landscape of mountain and valley,
of river and sea and numberless bays--some "narrow enough for the
butterflies to cross and yet navigable for the largest vessels." Wooed
by the beauty of their landscape and clime, the Greeks gave to the
world the highest expression of what culture could do for a people.


The Romans developed the idea of law and physical greatness. The
world had never before had such masters as the Romans--her genius for
government and ruling power has never been surpassed. Even in this new
born time the laws that were nurtured are matured "upon the banks of
the Tiber" still rule in the affairs of men. "It is for others to work
brass into breathing shape. Others may be more eloquent or describe the
circling movements of the heavens and tell the rising of the stars. Thy
work, O Roman, is to rule the nations; these be thine acts, to impose
the conditions of the world's peace, to show mercy to the fallen and to
crush the proud."

Races like individuals are differently endowed--we are accustomed
to say that all men are equal, but we know they are not, they never
were, nor never will be. No more are all races equal. What is true of
individuals in the matter of endowment is also true of races. Some
races, as we have seen have large spiritual endowment; some great
intellectual endowment while others are great in physical power. While
in these respects, there are races of mankind whose endowments seem
to be very small. Those of you who have read books touching upon the
endowment or capacity of races, will recall that when the races of
men noted for capacity have been chronicled, the Negro race has ever
been placed at the foot of the column. Indeed the time is not so far
distant when our intellectual endowment was considered so small that
it was questioned whether the Negro was of one blood with the other
races of mankind. We speak of race soil to-night; _races like the
soil differ in degree of productiveness_, some soil you may plough,
and sow, and reap, receiving in return very little for your labor and
your pains; while others for the toil bestowed yield rich and abundant
harvests. There are some races also that are very unproductive, and
among them the Negro is not the least. It is not my purpose to cast
any reflection upon the Indian, but to me he seems to have a very
unproductive soil. Some races seem to be small in natural capacity
and power; who from the beginning seem to have produced nothing which
was worthy to survive. Of the Negro it will be remembered that Henry
Ward Beecher once said, "You could sink the whole continent of Africa
into the middle of the Atlantic ocean, and the bubbles that came up
would amount to as much as the people that went down." The statement
of Mr. Beecher will bear investigation. John Ruskin in the Stones of
Venice, Vol. I, speaking of the contribution the different
branches of the human family have made to architecture says; "Ham, the
servant of the others furnished the sustaining or bearing member, the
shaft: Japheth, the arch: Shem the spiritualization of both." On this
authority it transpires that the day the Negro is sunk in mid-ocean,
the sustaining or bearing member of architecture goes down with him. As
that which the soil will produce is modified by the climate, so that
which a race may be capable of producing is modified by the moral,
social and intellectual atmosphere which surrounds it. We know that
what the soil will produce is modified by the climate; we do not have
orange groves along our lake shore, nor do we cultivate the banana here
in our Northern gardens; when we desire these fruits, we must go to a
more congenial climate; here only the hardy vegetables and fruits can
survive. The contribution which the Negro has made to civilization must
be viewed in the light of the moral, social and intellectual atmosphere
by which he has been surrounded. A race that is surrounded by a
heavy, black and poisonous moral atmosphere, can give out but small
contributions of moral power. When the moral atmosphere is poisonous
it will kill out the production and growth of everything in the moral
realm that makes for virtue and healthy growth. Whenever the social
atmosphere is depressed and stagnant, it breeds disease and death. It
is in the light of these things, our race should be viewed and judged.
What has been the moral atmosphere that has surrounded our race in this
land for more than two centuries? Not even one of our enemies will
maintain that it has been conducive to a healthy moral growth. Our
virtue has been outraged by public sentiment, despoiled by law, the
canker of slavery has gnawed at its heart, and religion created for
it a standard which must not rise higher than the will of a master;
whose will set over against the will of God, declared itself to be
its highest law. But these withering blasts, prolonged through the
centuries, could not destroy the hardy virtues of our people, and yet
the very men who were the perpetrators or aiders or abettors of moral
outrage against the Negro, who sought to kill or dwarf his virtues,
are the loudest to prate about the immorality of the colored race. It
is said that the Negro is very religious, but that his morals are very
bad. This comes with bad grace from those who sought for centuries
to rid him of his virtue. Even under the changed conditions of the
last few years, the moral atmosphere which surrounds the Negro is not
congenial to a healthy growth. The moral degradation of the Negro is
still threatened in large sections of this country, by every device
which wealth, position and legal enactment can command. For the colored
boy and girl of America the doors that lead to moral degradation stand
open wide; yea: they are even invited to enter. The colored youth
finds few, if any, obstacles in the path which leads to degradation,
but when he seeks to enter the doors that lead to the exercise of
manly strength and virtue, he finds that they are for the most slammed
in his face. What has been the social atmosphere that has surrounded
us? The social atmosphere has been rendered heavy and oppressive,
because freighted with "Jim Crow" legislation, inadequate educational
facilities, political and industrial degradation. In any section of
this country wherever he may be, I care not, the Negro is a marked man,
wherever a colored woman goes she is a marked woman. Our aspiring boys
and girls find this to be true to their sorrow and humiliation, when
they seek positions above that of a menial in bank or store, in factory
or mill. Our self-respecting men and women find it to be true when
they seek entertainment or accommodation on railroads and at hotels.
Our people up here along the Lake Shore who do not go far from home,
have not learned to appreciate the bitterness of this treatment. Even
in the professional life the Negro discovers that he is a marked man;
a black man and a white man graduate from the same medical college,
from the same class, receive the same degree, but after graduation,
the one becomes a doctor and the other a _colored_ doctor. If a Negro
have exceptional ability, he is a smart darky or a smart Negro as the
case may be. Other men of exceptional ability are smart men. Some go
so far as to say that God himself has marked the Negro as an inferior
being, but these slanders of God are daily being put to silence by
superior men and women of the race who are demonstrating their ability.
What has been the intellectual atmosphere that has surrounded our race
until within the last 25 or 30 years. It was a crime for us to know
letters. Every means at the command of a great and powerful nation was
used to keep intellectual darkness around the Negro of this land; but
the fountains of the mind, though unfed, were not dried up; on the
contrary, the intellectual appetite of the Negro was sharpened and set
on edge to enter in and master the whole domain of knowledge as soon as
the opportunity arrived.

The intellectual atmosphere, moral and social, surrounding our race,
has been so uncongenial that some of our people have been trying to
get out of it, and go over to the enemy, and from the ranks of the
white race view in silence our moral, intellectual and social woes.
I call them _hot house Negroes_. Let me say to those members of our
race who are trying to escape the ills that afflict us by flight, that
they cannot escape, you have but to carry your yellow face across
the border and they will put you where they put the blackest Negro.
As the productiveness of the soil is increased by cultivation, so
is the productiveness of races increased by the cultivation of head
and heart. By cultivation alone can the productiveness of races be
increased. The mind is strengthened by being continually fed upon the
best and noblest thoughts; the ideas thus received become transformed
by the subtle alchemy of thought, are ever transformed into new and
nobler products. The heart is enriched and strengthened, and the moral
nature is feed upon the purest and noblest sentiments. So, however,
unproductive we may have been in the past if we will faithfully
cultivate head and heart, the historian will soon place us among the
productive races of mankind. Good soil will count for nothing unless
good seed is sown; the good seed to be sown in the human soil are
moral, spiritual and intellectual truths. None of the inferior kind
will do, the very best must be sought and from the highest sources.
Too many of these kind of seeds cannot be sown. The boy or girl that
has moral, spiritual and intellectual truths planted in mind and heart
will stand like some mighty tree of the forest, deep rooted, strong
against life's storm, wide branching, a shelter, a protection, a cool
refreshing shade, high towering, looming up, being forever in the
presence of the loftiest thoughts and sentiments of the soul. But good
seed cannot have a prosperous growth if weeds are permitted in their
midst. They will choke out and forever hinder the healthiest growth.

The weeds of the mind and heart are ignorance, superstition and vice.
I appeal to my young friends, let not these rank and poisonous weeds
choke and forever destroy the development and growth of the good seed
which by parents, preceptors and ministers are being sown in your
minds. When considering your future, first resolve to be virtuous,
next resolve to be educated, then as to what part you shall play in
the world, trust God, and if you persevere, he will open the door. It
has been true in the past that races much cultivated have like the
overworked soils worn out, at least they have ceased to be productive.
The Jew in four thousand years has borne us nothing but the spiritual
idea. Egypt gave us life and like her mummies and pyramads laid down to
sleep in the silence of the centuries. Greece gave us culture, but the
traveler along the shore of time finds only her immortal literature and
the broken remains of those creations which once spoke to the world,
"in forms of love and awe." The Rome of the Cæsars has left her throne
of power, which form her seven hills once ruled the world; but the plow
shear of civilization is just entering the Negro race, it is indeed
in the language of Bishop Turner, "the boy race of the world." What,
under proper cultivation, this race will produce, the historian of the
future must record, but we believe with his natural musical talent, the
Negro will cause sweeter harmonies and prettier melodies to vibrate
on the air than ever enraptured the human soul. Eloquent of speech,
he will plead the cause of God and the welfare of mankind with such
tones of power that neither the Rostrum nor the Forum ever heard. His
deep emotional nature will be the foe of tyranny and oppression, and
as a vehicle of religious truth will carry the triumphs of the King of
Kings into the seats of pride and power, and over the dark and barren
regions of the globe. The morning stars are paling, because the moral,
intellectual, and spiritual night of the Negro is passing away.

     "Out of the shadow of night,
     The world moves into light,
     It's day break every where."

"Are We Able to Go Up and Possess the Land?"

     "Ye shall go over and shall possess that good land."--_Deut. 4.

To-night I come to you with an interrogation: "Are we able to go up and
possess the land?" I have taken a text which you will find in the 22nd
verse of the 4th chapter of Deuteronomy: "Ye shall go over and shall
possess that good land."

These are the words of the Law-giver of Israel to the people of Israel.
We have simply taken this as a foundation or as a basis upon which
to stand, while pointing you to the things we have brought for your
consideration to-night. While visiting among my people some weeks ago,
I found in one of their homes a little picture or series of pictures:
in fact, a very beautiful calendar, issued by a medical firm in New
York. It was the most interesting thing I had seen for many a day. It
interested me because of its beauty, but it interested me more because
of the story it told. On that calendar were the pictures of perhaps
six or eight beautiful babies, suspended from a beam in old-fashioned
scales, with which we used to weigh, and on the beam over the head of
each baby some object was placed which was a symbol of what the child
was to become. Over one of the babies there was a plug hat and a pair
of gloves; I suppose he was to become a minister, because there are
some who think that is all it takes to make a minister. Over another
was an inkstand and a pen; I suppose this meant to tell me that this
baby was to be a literary man, and over another baby's head was a
bag with a million dollars written across it. He was going to be a
millionaire. Over the head of another there was a crown; that was to
proclaim that this baby was going to be a statesman or a ruler, and
betwixt the one with the crown over its head and the one with the
million-dollar bag over its head was a BEAUTIFUL LITTLE COLORED
BABY, over whose head was a great interrogation-point, WHAT? --?

This was the most impressive lecture on the race problem that I ever
heard. There was a confession, and a profound one. Here was a boy from
the home of a railroad king; that child will be a millionaire. We can
predict his course. Another child has a literary career open to him.
There was another child born to political honors: if he was not born to
them, there are no impediments in his way to prevent him from obtaining
them; but this little colored baby, we can't tell about him yet. He
might be a millionaire, but questionable; he might be a literary man,
but questionable; he might be a statesman, but questionable -- -- --?
If you will take a map of Europe and look upon it, giving your
imagination a little play, it would reveal to you nations that have
had an illustrious past, a glorious present, and who have now dreams
of future glory; great historic people that have figured largely in
the destiny and recreation of the world. It would reveal to you the
nations that are now managing and carrying on the business of the
world, upon the land and upon great waters. That map would reveal to
you people who every day and every night have dreams of future glory.
But if you were to take a map of Africa and study that part of it which
is inhabited by the race from which we are descended, it would reveal
to you a people, the greatness of whose past is shrouded in the dim
centuries, who in the present play no important part in the affairs
of men so far as their individual energies are concerned, what their
future destiny will be only one with the inspiration of heaven knows.
The map of Central Africa a few years ago had scarcely any rivers upon
it, and few lakes were to be found; of its physical features little
was known, but since that time explorers have found lakes and rivers
down there, and a country of almost inexhaustible riches, inhabited by
people highly susceptible to the influences of civilization. Let the
old question come, What will the African become? What will the Negro in
America do? What will he become? This is the question which my artist,
of whom I have spoken to-night, found too difficult for solution. The
nations of the earth, and this country in particular, have placed an
interrogation-point upon the Negro in America, in Africa, and in the
islands of the sea. What will he do? What will he become? But the
question which the hopes and fears of the people have been putting to
the destiny and future of the race in Africa, America, and elsewhere,
will be answered; and the Negro problem, if problem there be, will be
solved: solved by the Negro himself, and all nations will give to his
solution their unqualified applause and endorsement. So strong is my
confidence in the future of the race. I appreciate it enough to say
that if I had had the knowledge that I have to-day, and if such a thing
had been possible when I was preparing to burst open the gates of life
to make my entrance into this world and an angel had come down from the
bosom of God Almighty and said, "I am going to give you your choice; in
_what variety_ of the human race shall I incarnate your soul? Here is
the old English stock; she has produced her Shakespears, her Cromwells,
Miltons and Gladstones, and if it suit you, I will incarnate or graft
you to the Anglo-Saxon stock;" or, if the angel had said to me, "The
French have produced Racines, Molliers, Hugos and Napoleons, and if
you choose, I will make you a Frenchman; or, here is the good German
stock; this race has had her Fredericks, Goethes, and her Bismarks; I
will incarnate your soul in the German race," after he had finished
his speech, feeling as I do to-night, and as I have felt a thousand
times, if he had said to me, "There is yet another people who have been
scattered and peeled, hated and despised; these that I have presented
to you are great historic nations, prominent in the affairs of the
world, and they have written some of the best pages in the history of
the world's progress; but there is another people who have yet to enact
their part upon the stage of history, to whom all the great fields of
human endeavor stand out, unexplored as the American continent did
to Columbus, fields of endeavor in agriculture, in philosophy, in
business, in the professions, everywhere; they have yet to demonstrate
to the world what they will do, and what part they will play, and
what is to be contained in the chapters which they will write in the
history of the world's progress; choose well; your choice is brief, but
endless," I would have said to the angel: "Make me a Negro." The Negro
is told that he has no past--at least none worthy of record. You know
how you feel when somebody comes to Cleveland who knew you before you
soared so high, and says, "I know her; they were poor and lived in an
old cabin; why, I remember them when they hardly had corn-bread." That
is no disgrace; but the past sometimes makes people's "feathers fall."

But we are told that we have no past. Some of our historians try to
make you believe that you have no past that counts for anything, that
you never amounted to anything, that your origin was insignificant, and
that you never will be anything. But we have a present and a future,
and whatever we were in the past, _we are here now_, clothed with
citizenship and in our right mind. Not only are we told that we have
no past, but this country especially tries to make us believe that
we have no future. I mean as men, and that is the reason I am taking
God's precious time to speak these words. I have two boys, and if for
them and our descendants among the people of this planet there is no
future, let God blot us out of His book. We are told we have no future
as men, and the prophets are trying to make their prophecies come true.
Every discrimination and every barrier against you and your boy or your
girl is to keep that boy and that girl from having a future. Is it not
true? Every "Jim Crow" car says that we shall not have a future, but
unjust discrimination can not prevent the race from moving on.

There are some of our people that believe just what some of our enemies
are trying to make come true--that the Negro has no future as a man in
America or elsewhere. Some of our people have believed this lie, and
men have left their race because they do not believe in it. They do not
believe in its future, they do not believe in its destiny, they do not
believe in its power to come to anything. They have knocked at every
door to get out of it, this you know. It is true that some have left
it, but they had to take their Negro blood along; they could not get
away from themselves.

"O God! if I was only white. O God! if I had just enough white blood
in me and my hair was straight so I could leave Cleveland, or leave
Virginia and come to Cleveland, and none should suspect that I had
a strain of Negro blood in my veins, and then if I could not get
back into the white race, I would get a pack of 'Mongrels' and form
a 'BLUE VEIN SOCIETY.'" This wail has gone up from many a
traitorous heart. But, my friends, there is a land of promise, there
is a door of hope, there is a door of entrance to the point of highest
vantage. There are some fields before us which we have not conquered,
but this or coming generations will. Yea, thousands of boys and girls
are in our schools who have sworn that they will enter these fields. I
am only going to name a few of them.

The field of _literature_. What is literature? It is the embalmed
treasure of the mind, treasured up and sent down to a life beyond.
David and Job, Plato and Shakespeare have come down to us as
representatives of historic people, to whom they belong. Every nation
that has had literature has drawn for posterity an exact picture of
itself. The American people may say what they are, but their literature
will tell to posterity how little and how great they were. The history
of nations tells what they were. These fields our boys and girls
are going to enter. God knows what they will be, for we have some
aspirations. The Bible is full of the aspirations of the people that
lived in the ages that have been. Three thousand years that have passed
away stand in the light a realization of what to David was a dream and
to Job was mingled with doubt. So we have aspirations, and not only
these, but noble thoughts, and they will yet find expression in what I
believe will be among the world's noblest literature. The other people
have been busy, and we are waiting for them to get through. This is
their hour. You know some people do that; they sit back and wait until
the other fellow gets through. But the white boy and girl must not halt
or wait: write the very best poems you can; get your histories into
shape; form your thoughts along the highest line, for there are about
five million black boys and girls coming. If your ears were good enough
you could hear them coming down the corridors of time. They will be
here by and by. They have some songs to sing, some histories to write,
some aspirations and some thoughts to give to the world.

There is another field, _the field of business_. My friends, let
me tell you what you all should know. We have yet to possess that
territory, the field of business. Do you not know there is no
trouble about a black man getting work just so long as he is not the
controlling mind? You are all right to work until you get to be the
director or the controlling mind, and there the trouble begins--right
there. Did I not hear no longer than last Summer this wail from a
white mechanic: "To think that I should ever come to this, that I
should have to work under a 'Nigger' boss!" As long as you are not
the controlling mind, there is peace; but of course there are some
instances in which we are. There are other fields that must be entered;
but we must not forget that while we are seeking other fields, in the
fields of business, agriculture, commerce and manufacture, there is
room. I tell you, my friends, that in all of these fields of endeavor
there is room for us. We have been told that we shall go over and sit
down under the tree of life, but I would like some shade-trees down
here. Some of us want to go over there where the land is flowing with
milk and honey, but I advise you also to get a little place down here
and make it flow with milk and honey. Many of you know that in this
country they are crowding to the wall and keeping down millions of
our people. We must get to the place that we can enter these fields
and to some extent control them. Do not ignore the inviting field of
commerce. We can trade. You could not get along in this world without
trade. This man produces something, that another cannot. I tell you, my
friends, that a good way to get into business is to create it? That is
what the Jew does; he makes business and sticks to it. When the Italian
comes over to this country, all he requires is enough money to buy a
bunch of bananas, and he goes out on the street-corner and holloas,
"Bana, tena centa doza," and thousands of us march up, pay our money
and take the goods. A man has no time to prepare after the opportunity
arrives. He must be ready when the opportunity comes. The education
of our children must not be one-sided. We want some manufacturers, we
want some mechanical draughtsmen. We must train for business. We have
typewriters, stenographers and book-keepers, but we need more. We are
entering the field of professional life and filling respectable places
there, and that, too, with great acceptance. I think the time is coming
when six or eight or ten million people will not be sitting around on
benches or in the shade some place, waiting for a white man to come and
hire them. These boys that are coming up are not going to do it. You
must get ready, boys, by laying a good foundation. And now, friends, a
few things more. There is another field of which I wish to speak. There
is another land you have yet to enter and possess--that of government
and statesmanship. These are the questions the centuries have not
answered. Who shall rule? Shall it be a king, an emperor or the people?
That has been the question, Who shall rule? The other question has
been, How shall we rule and be ruled? These have been the questions
that have come down through all the ages, and they are perfectly
proper. We have decided in this country that all the people shall rule,
and on this side of the sea that they shall rule and be ruled with
every man equal under the law. I was talking with a white man recently,
who said, "Your people are getting along finely in this country. Look
what they have done in so short a time. You are a preacher, and you
know the Bible says that if God did create of one blood all nations,
that He set the bounds of their habitation, and this is not your
country." I thought that argument had been hung up or buried long ago.
I have a book, "An Appeal to Pharaoh," written by a prominent man in
this country and the great question he discusses is that the Negro
is an alien race, and that it is felt everywhere, and God Almighty
has marked him with a black skin. He is marked socially, marked
politically, marked as he knocks at every door of entrance an alien
race. God Almighty has not fixed the bounds of any man's habitation. He
is not that kind of a God. He was not born in Georgia; the bounds of
no race's habitation are fixed. The facts prove that the English get
along all right in Africa, the Africans get along pretty well in this
country, we have kept up with the phases of modern civilization right
well. Now I have simply to say that we have just as much right here as
anybody. You are a man and a citizen, and, being a man and a citizen
you have a right to rule and be ruled. Let any question involving
citizenship come up south of Mason and Dixon line and then see what
politics has to do with it. They settle it. My friends, especially my
younger friends, if it was in my power I would take you up and give you
a glimpse of that land that lies beyond. I would show you those fields
rich with great rewards. I believe that boys and girls with aspirations
and inspirations born within them will come with ready hands to batter
down these doors of predjudice and enter those fields, and build up all
these avenues making for themselves a place and a name, just as other
races have done, _I speak with a hope_. But we want to be men and women
here, with one hand in God's hand and the other one down here, so with
one upon the earth and the other one in heaven we will bring heaven
down to earth and take the best of earth up to the skies.

[Illustration: Decoration]

Lions by the Way.

     The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled
     for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens
     with ravin. _Nahum 2, 12._

In speaking to you, under the general topic for two weeks past, "The
disadvantage and opportunities of the colored youth," my purpose has
been to give inspiration and courage. We talked to you first from the
topic under this head, "Race Soil." Last Sunday night we spoke to you
from the topic, "Shall we be able to go up and possess the land?"
To-night we come before you to talk of "Lions by the way." Permit me
to say that in all I have said or may say, I have had no purpose and
take no pleasure in showing up, or attempting to show the defects, the
weakness or shortcomings of my race.

It is true we have been often flattered when the truth would have
been more profitable, and, I think it is not improper, that once in a
while we should step aside and take a look at ourselves and endeavor
to learn the truth concerning us; but while all that is true, I would
have my auditors understand that our enemies are always trying to get
something against us. It has not been my purpose or desire to stand
in this sacred place and furnish ammunition for the enemy. I have
spoken because I believe it will be profitable for us to turn our eyes
more directly upon ourselves and some of the phases of the unhealthy
conditions by which we are environed. I want to speak the truth and
nothing but the truth, in speaking from this topic. As I have done
before, I shall have to use plain Anglo-Saxon, though I desire to say
nothing that would make a blush come to the cheeks of the most chaste
of maidens, nothing that would be out of keeping with this time or
sacred house. One thing further my belief about the pulpit is this,
that it ought not to be dumb, but vocal and articulate.

Any topic that relates to the welfare of mankind is not out of place
here. This has been my endeavor and shall be to the end. I said to my
church when I first came to this city that I would speak plain words
in this pulpit, and it would be my purpose to know nothing but Jesus
Christ and Him crucified. Last Sunday night our topic was "shall we be
able to go up and possess the land?" We meant by that, the fields of
endeavor that are held from us. And now we come to tell you that there
are some lions by the way. By this we mean, the vices that are preying
upon and destroying our people, in common with thousands and tens of
thousands of others. Let me introduce this further, by saying to our
young men and women, that I know what temptation is. Let me say to our
boys and girls, let me say to our young men and women, that one thing
we can not afford to do, is to imitate the vices and follies of the
white boys and girls of this country.

The reason we can not afford to do it is this, the white boys and girls
of this country have standing at their backs, centuries of glorious
achievements and if they stop to play a little by the way, or if they
stray from the way and give themselves to vices and follies, they
have a foot hold in the earth that you don't possess. They can afford
better than you, secret follies, they have power, you have not, your
father has not. As you walk out Euclid avenue and look at the mansions
there, or down town and look at the great banks and manufacturing
establishments, remember these belong to white men and will descend to
white men's sons.

The colored boys of this country, in attempting to get what others
possess, have no time to stop by the road to get drunk, we are far
enough behind without that. We have no time to stop on our way to the
highest point of vantage, to take a game of cards with some fellow.
On the way to business, we have no time to be lured by the siren's
song onto the rocks of destruction, while attempting to get a foothold
among men. These are reasons and others can be given why we can not
afford to stop and imitate the vices and follies of those by whom we
are surrounded. In these talks I have so much to say, that I regret, I
have to say almost everything so poorly. I know there are a great many
of us who desire to be like other people. Some people tell us we should
strive to be like other people. Now what people would you desire to be
like, if you had your choice. Like the Greeks? Socrates and Plato and
Greece have passed away. You don't want to be like Greece--she fell.

Do you want to be like the Romans? Cæsar, Cicero and Rome have passed
away. Something was wrong with that nation, she could not stand. Do
you want to be like the Jews, scattered far and near? Many know not
of the lions in the path of our progress. I place this one first. The
lion, you know, is called the king, the strongest of beasts. One of
the great roaring and devouring lions in our path is, _the lion of
intemperance_. You know he is devouring our boys and girls. My friends,
if time permitted me to-night, I could tell you much as to its terrible
ravages, and the inroads it is making among our people. Not only in
Cleveland but all over this country, the lion of intemperance is making
his way. I never saw but one building I wanted to curse and that was
the Y. M. C. A. building in the city of Springfield, O. Some of our
people were so foolish as to subscribe five and ten dollars a year to
support an institution our boys could not enter. I told them they ought
to change it's name and call it the white Y. M. C. A.

There was a door across the street unlike the Y. M. C. A. door. The
door of the Y. M. C. A. swung in, but the door across the street pushed
both ways, everybody could go in there, it was a saloon.

The fact of the matter is, my friends, if you want to take a header
down, the doors are all open and if you want to climb upward, many
doors are barred as the Y. M. C. A's. doors were. Intemperance is a
demon, it is one of the devouring lions in the way, destroying the
progress of our people. Say what you will, the lion of intemperance is
making us his prey. I implore you to shun it. I remember a temperance
lecture my mother once gave me: "My son beware of the intoxicating cup,
it has brought kings down from their thrones; it has brought statesmen
down from their seats of power, it has blighted the prospects of the
most brilliant men, it has come into the pulpit and dragged down the
servant of the living God. Beware!" It has done that and more, of such
an end beware. Young men keep out of these places of drink, we can not
afford to enter them.

We of all people in this country, can least afford to spend our money
for drink. Taken from a financial standpoint. A man spends twenty or
thirty cents a day for drinks and in eight or ten years he spends
enough to buy a house and lot. From a financial standpoint we can not
afford to drink. I think that a man cannot afford to buy a piano for a
saloonkeeper's house, and finery for his children. We can not afford
to buy these things for saloonkeeper's daughters. You bought his wife
a carriage, but your wife and daughter has not one of these things. I
am sorry to say that too many of our people are doing this very thing.
It matters not what other people are doing in this respect, we can not
afford to do it. Any one that has been in Chicago on State street can
appreciate what I am talking about. On the corners you can see anywhere
from two hundred to three hundred colored boys, kingly looking fellows
throwing themselves away in these saloons and dens. God save the flower
of our youth from the lions den! I remember the time when you could
not get a colored woman to guzzle beer. And I can not for the life of
me understand why mothers send their children after it. This is the
destructive part of the business. No matter what excuse you frame for
a woman that sends her child to a saloon, I say there is something the
matter with the mother-heart in that woman.

These are the destructive things and this is one of the lions that is
doing much to destroy us and keep us poor.

In a little town in Kentucky, upon a hill where our people lived and
had homes, there was an Irish family who kept a grocery. The man worked
and his wife kept grocery. She had a little keg of whiskey under the
counter. She knew all the men by name, and would pat them on the back
and tell them they could have anything they wanted on credit.

With the groceries they bought a little whiskey, and then she got them
to put their names to a piece of paper. It was not long before the
Irishman owned the house across the street and after a while nearly
all the houses on the hill, and they started on a few bars of soap
and a keg of whiskey. Scenes similar to this are going on in scores
of localities in this country, but we do not want to be engulfed by
the lion of drink. Another lion which is preying upon our pathway
is _the vice of gambling_. In destructive power I place it next to
intemperance, for it is just as fascinating when it gets a hold on a
man. I know gamblers that never touch a drink of whiskey. There are
scores of our boys and girls going down to destruction, through the
door of the gambling hell. There are some people who profess to think
there is no harm in a game of cards.

I can't for the life of me see how any man or woman can apologize for
a deck of cards. I do not care whether there is any harm in it or not,
when a man is with a deck of cards, he is in bad company.

When you get so you can play and play well, you desire to let somebody
know how well you can play, you do not intend to be a gambler. Your
friend has a quarter that says he can beat you. That's the way it
starts. You have a quarter which says he can not. There are men at
present in this city, dragging down their little children and wives in
gambling hells of this town. The ravages of this vice are terrible. It
has even affected some of our women. So infatuated are they that they
will go out and wash all day and take the money to buy lottery tickets.
These are some of the devouring lions by the way, that are helping to
destroy us, and I say to every young man, don't play a game of cards. I
know the temptations of young men and I know some of you have mothers
off in distant cities praying for you. A young man goes to work in some
hotel, after he waits his meals, he has no home to go to, and is at
a loss what to do. Don't spend your money on gambling machines, keep
it in your pocket; don't give it to those men down town, for I think
when a man spends his money he ought to get value for value. There is
another thing of which I wish to speak, that is _politics_. A great
many people think you can make men and women by legislation. You can't
put a law on the statute books which will create men and women, they
are not made that way. Our dependence on legislation and political
parties has been one of the barriers in our way.

But my friends, salvation still comes through the church and that
way only, and no political party can bring it otherwise. We are very
important on election day. If you stay out on election day so many men
will be glad to see you, and when they want you to drink it is to serve
certain ends. So we finally wake up to the fact that our salvation
does not depend on any party. What have political parties done to help
us. They have done more to destroy us.

I was shown into a saloon on election day, where I saw ten or fifteen
colored men (among them an old brother of my church.) They filled them
full of whiskey and loaded them into a wagon and voted them like sheep.
I do not say that you would do as those men did, but I do say that we
can't afford to be governed by these bad principles.

Again, we are assailed by the lion of the white man's lust. I wonder
that white women are not afraid to meet a Negro, after reading in the
papers every day about "that burly Negro brute." I have no hesitation
in saying that the outrages that are alleged to be committed by colored
men upon white women, bear no comparison to those which the whites
commit with impunity upon colored women.

We had recently an instance in this State of a Negro assaulting a
white woman. If he committed that crime, he deserved to die, and die
a terrible death, but he did not deserve to die at the hands of a
mob. The lions that are coming into the way devouring the life blood
and flower of our people, have their lair largely in the chivalric
southland, but some of them are abroad in the North. In the first place
there is no law for a colored woman south of Mason and Dixon's line.
If a white man seduces her under avowal of love or promise of marriage
she can not sue him, for it would be a penetentiary offense for him
to make her his wife. Therefore she has no law. In many of our States
the law gives license to the white man's lust to feed at will, upon
the defenceless women of our race. A bishop of the A. M. E. Church
is authority for the statement, that there is a school district in
Georgia where no colored woman can teach unless she consents to be the
kept woman of the county superintendent. Both North and South it is
notorious, that indecent proposals are sometimes made to our mothers,
wives and sisters, when they go to the stores to make purchases. You
put the white woman in the colored woman's place and give colored men
all the money and if they did as white men do I don't expect their
girls would be found to possess more moral strength than ours. If
when our young ladies go out in the streets, especially in the South,
there is a crowd of Southern gentlemen on the corner, they make any
kind of remark about them they choose and to resent it would mean to
precipitate "a race war."

Our womanhood is being degraded and desecrated, and this is one of the
devouring lions. When you touch a man's home you are getting around the
heart strings of his life. In the North they don't do it in this way.
Here when a woman goes out she is followed. But the Northern villain
will not persist if she pursue the even tenor of her way. But there is
another side to this, we are saying these words not to injure, but to
help. Some of you want me to preach of the land of Beulah, you object
when the _living present_ is preached. And while we are up yonder
among the clouds, the devouring lions down here are despoiling us
of womanhood and virtue. The fault is not altogether with our white
brother, for there are women who belong to our race who surreptitiously
associate improperly with the opposite side and want to be the first
women among our people. I had an illustration of this a few years ago,
when I had the honor to respond to a toast at the Lincoln banquet
in Columbus, O. In conversation with one of the gentlemen present,
a State official, he asked me where I was located, when I told him,
he said, "I have a fine little colored girl in that city." He would
not have told me that if the wine had not been flowing so freely. He
called her name, and I was surprised to find she was high up in society
and a leading member of my church. Women of this class do more than
any other to call in question the integrity of the race. Recently a
lamentation has gone up from white mothers of the South, because their
sons marry so slowly. They prefer their colored concubines to the
honorable estate of matrimony. The lion has her whelps in the person
of degraded colored men and boys in hotels and elsewhere taking out
strangers to seduce and destroy colored girls. Now, my friends, in the
light of these statements it would be unjust for me to close without
saying that I believe our colored women are among the grandest women
under heaven. They have been loyal as mothers and sweethearts, in the
darkest night and dreariest days, with every incentive to turn them
from their course. As mothers they have been loyal to their children,
ever loyal; as wives they have been faithful. Some of our friends say
that "the colored people are very religious, but their morals are
bad." Read the papers and see whether the colored people have all the
bad morals or not. We don't have to go down to Kentucky and run for
Congress in order to advertise our morals. Not only have our women been
loyal as mothers, but they have been loyal as sweethearts. In the midst
of temptations, such as no other women in the land have ever faced,
thank God, they have not lost their moral integrity. I preach faith in
God. But to-night I preach, let us have faith in each other, faith in
ourselves, we can not be too loyal to each other. Loyal in business.
A store keeper when asked to give a colored girl a clerk ship in his
store said: "I can't put her in here, if I was to put a colored girl
in this store I would loose lots of trade among your people. Do you
know the reason? Some of your people when they came in and saw her
behind the counter would not buy because they would be unwilling for
her to know how much they paid for their dresses." That is the reason
he would not take her. Frank James, the brother of the notorious Jesse
James is clerk in a store where our people spend thousands of dollars,
but could not get the most menial position. From these lessons we are
admonished that our safety lies in loyalty to each other. Then let us
not turn away from God; we must not lay God down. Why, don't you know
some of our people are getting so progressive they actually spit on
their mother's graves. My brethren we must hold on to God--our hope.
Our mothers and fathers did not know much, but they knew God and they
knew Jesus Christ in the dark days that have passed and gone. Through
the long hours of the night have they gone and communed with Him, in
their cabins, and the wind as it whispered through the chincks in
the wall, spoke to them of the dawning of a brighter day. God has
overthrown one race and nation after another, if we turn from Him He
will overthrow us likewise. But if we hold on to God, He will lift us
up. Let us smother pride. Do not turn from God back into darkness from
which we are coming. God will lead us out of darkness into light and
give us the strength of Samson to slay and overcome the lions that are
by the way.

[Illustration: Decoration]

Grapes from the Land of Canaan.

     And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence
     a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two
     upon a staff; and _they brought_ of the pomegranates, and of the
     figs. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all
     the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of
     Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all
     the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. _Num.
     13:23, 26._

I come to you to-night my friends, to deliver the last of my series
of lecture sermons, under the general topic, "The Disadvantages and
Opportunities of the Colored Youth." Three of these talks many of you
have already heard. During the delivery of these lectures I have said
a great many things that have displeased some people, for which I am
very thankful, and I have said some things that have pleased others,
for which I am more thankful. I have said some things that some of
my friends have thought ought to have been left unsaid. That's a
difference of judgment. But I have endeavored to speak the truth, which
I hope to continue to do. I expect to displease a great many people as
my ministry is prolonged. Certainly I shall do so if I speak the truth.

We come to-night to call your attention to the last topic which we
announced, which topic is "Grapes from the Land of Canaan," and as a
basis or a foundation for my remarks, your attention is invited to the
23rd and 26th verses of the 13th chapter of the Book of Numbers. "And
they went and came to Moses and to Aaron, and to all the congregation
of the children of Israel unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and
brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed
them the fruit of the land;" the 23rd verse reads as follows: "And
they came upon the brook of Eschol, and cut down from thence a branch
with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff;
and they brought of the pomegranates and of the figs." The children
of Israel were just from Egyptian bondage, from a bondage that had
lasted over 400 years. They were now in the wilderness, but in their
travels, they had come to the boarders of the Land of Canaan, and while
yet in the wilderness, but standing on the boarders of Canaan, they
sent spies, chief men in Israel, over into the Land of Canaan to spy
out the land, and as we have read to you, these men went as they were
sent into the land of Canaan, and they came back and reported that it
was a land literally flowing with milk and honey. And in order that
the people might believe their report, while they were in Eschol they
gathered some grapes, and brought back grapes from the Land of Canaan,
and showed them to the camp in Israel, so that the people would be
encouraged to go into that goodly land as they should have been, but
there were some people in the camp of the Israelites just like there
are to-day. They said, "We are told that it is a goodly country and
have seen some of the fruits of the land, but the Amelakites are over
there and the Jebusites are over there and the Hittites are over there
and we are afraid of these, and not only that, but the people over
there dwell in walled cities, and we don't believe we are able to take
them. But of all things, the thing we most fear, is the children of
Anak, they are over there and they are giants, every one of them. A
race of left-handed giants, and as we looked at our men, they were as
grass-hoppers, we are afraid they will devour us." And as they spake
the children of Israel got scared, and said, "We are not able to go
and possess it." We, the men of the colored race of America, are just
from bondage, out of the wilderness. We have had representatives
enter the rich fields of human endeavor which will be the possession
of the entire race, when they have the ability and courage to enter.
Some have already gone over to these fields of endeavor, and a great
many in our camp are just like the Israelites, they are afraid and
crying out we can't go over and possess it. By grapes from the Land
of Canaan, I mean _the Negro's demonstrated ability_. Just as these
spies from the camp of Israel went to Canaan and brought back grapes,
some of the representative men and women of this race have gone in to
the fair fields of human endeavor demonstrating our ability to enter
there, and the fruits or grapes of the land that they have entered, is
their demonstrated ability in the large fields of human endeavor, of
these things I wish to speak to you to-night. The first thing to which
I would call your attention is, _the Negro as a toiler_. Into that
realm of human endeavor we have entered and demonstrated our ability as
a toiler. The Negro's ability has brought rich fruits into this land,
coming into this country shortly after the Anglo-Saxon, the Negro as a
toiler has left his mark upon this Hemisphere, wherever he has turned
the soil. He has gone out into the wilderness, out into the thickets,
out into the back woods, out upon the frontier. He too has felled the
forests, he too has drained the swamps, he too has redeemed the marshes
and caused the wilderness to blossom as the rose. By the sea, on the
plains, in the primeval forests, everywhere, wherever he has gone he
has been a faithful toiler and has caused wealth to fall into the lap
of the nation. There is always hope for a man that is not afraid to
work; you can put that down, and as true as there is hope for a man
not afraid to work, there is hope for individuals wherever and whoever
that people may be. Wise men may smile at the Negro's ignorance, rich
men may mock at his poverty, but no man can call him lazy, because
from his industry and toil he has enriched this country, and has
contributed much to cause it to take its rank and place amongst the
foremost nations of the earth. This I call "Grapes from the Land of
Canaan." This is the age of the common man. There have been ages of
kings; there were ages when a king stood for all the world, but that
is past. There were ages of aristocracy and nobility, when their word
and authority swayed the land, in America, that day has passed. This
is the day and age of the workingman, this is the day when the toiler
is king. This is the day of the common man, and those of you who read
history are told to read the signs of the times. Read them in the light
of this declaration: that the common man, the toiler who produces all
the wealth of this fair world and is making it bloom and blossom,
shall enjoy the fruit of his toil. In this country there is hope. The
men who produce the wealth of this country, are no longer content to
produce and not enjoy. The men and women producing the wealth of this
country from the bosom of the earth and from the fields, are coming to
the place where they intend to enjoy the fruits which their industry
and toil have produced. Thank God, to-night, the Negro as a toiler has
never taken second rank, while in the fields of industry he has always
kept a place, he has filled it well. The common people are getting
their eyes open. It's time they were beginning to open them. Men are
learning that they produce wealth, and have a right to enjoy it. Men
are coming to the conclusion that they have no right to toil and the
results of their industry pour into the lap of some one man; the day is
not far distant when this must cease. Mr. Coxey has got a great many
people scared, but I have this to say about revolutions and upheavals;
God Almighty through the ages has written His will in blood. After
every sabre's flash, every field of carnage and of blood the common
people have come to larger liberty. It has been so from the beginning
of the world. God has written His will in the ashes of ecclesiastical
and political despotism and He will write it again in the ruins of
social despotism. We have demonstrated our ability as fighting men.
You know you must prove yourself everywhere, prove yourself in every
field of endeavor. Our ability as fighting men has been demonstrated.
A man that will not fight for country, honor and home is no man at
all. And as a defender of these things which men hold sacred, we have
demonstrated our ability in every test that has arisen. You never
heard of a Negro soldier running from any body. They don't fight that
way. You never heard of a troop of colored soldiers refusing to go
forward, no matter if the odds were against them. That kind of blood
does not run in their veins. And now that history is being written more
truthfully than it was a few years ago, it is seen that our fathers
were valorous and brave in the interest of the principles which are the
heritage of this great nation.

I speak of this to-night because when I was a little boy I could read
nothing to make me know of their bravery. It helps a young man to be
true and loyal, to know the blood of brave men is in his veins. When a
white man speaks he says, "My father fought for this country and for
constitutional liberty." Our fathers fought for it as well, America's
glory is ours. When I used to study history in school no honorable
mention was made of us there, our boys and girls must write some
history. We were only mentioned in that book twice, and then we were
mentioned in pictures, one was the picture of a Negro boy butting Gen.
Prescott's door down. Then there was a large and pretty illustration of
Gen. Perry on Lake Erie, in this they had a Negro crouching in the bow
of a boat, while the white men fearlessly faced the enemy's guns. Those
of you who have read history know how valorous and brave the black man
was in this struggle, and this picture is a printed lie. Every time
I go down street and pass the Soldiers' Monument on the Square I feel
about an inch taller, some people don't like the bronze figure of the
negro there. It pleases me to see it, and I am glad that the time
has come that you cannot build a monument to the soldiers, and tell
the truth, without putting the black man there. That is demonstrated
ability in another field. Frederick Douglass says there are three
boxes the Negro must control: "the knowledge box, the money box and
the ballot box." But you need another box in order to take care of the
other three, it comes in very handy some times, it is the cartridge
box. Another field of endeavor where our ability has been demonstrated
is _the field of business_. We have brought grapes from that domain. We
have been busy trying to get a good foothold in business.

One thing I wish to speak of in this connection is prejudice,
especially in the south land, it has been a great blessing to our
people. For example: as some of you know, there are few southern cities
where they will haul your dead body in the hearse that they use for
the whites. Not for love nor money would they do it, and the result
is, that our people are buying hearses and going into the undertaking
business. The money that flowed into the other people's pockets is
flowing into ours. Our people are also beginning to keep drug stores,
so you can see that prejudice has been a blessing to us, by forcing
us to go into business for ourselves. If they had laid aside this
prejudice we would not have made this advance, but God has helped us
and we are getting along right well.

One of the greatest hindrances to our material advancement is
improvidence. We spend too much money for picnics and excursions.
When the sun shines we are too prone to forget that the frost will
ever fly again. I do not say a man ought never to do anything that he
cannot afford, but we ought to be more provident. If I was not afraid
I would make you angry, I would say: We all dress up fine and look
just as good as the people of the avenue, the only difference is, we
cannot afford it and they can. We have not learned as we should the
value of a dollar. I remember one time while I was spending a week with
a friend, one morning at the breakfast table his father said to him:
"My son, you have been to college and studied Greek, but you have not
learned the value of a dollar. I am going to give you a dollar, don't
spend it, take it out and look at it every day. Study the possibilities
of this dollar. There are horses, farms, factories and railroad stock
in this dollar, all that tends to wealth, study the value of it." We
can learn this lesson with profit. Another field of endeavor is that
of professions. The time has come when we must go out and gather more
fruits in this domain. In the line of professions we have been able to
take our stand and make a place; we can trust our cases with a colored
lawyer just as well as with a white one. We have shown that we are
able to make entrance and hold in that realm a place. We have lost
enough money on real estate in Ohio and Pennsylvania to make 3 or 4
families rich, because we didn't have proper legal advice. But now with
qualified lawyers this cannot occur. We have learned at last that we
can trust our lives in the hands of colored physicians as well as in
the hands of anyone else, but must learn this more and more, so that
our men can take rank and standing among other men in this department.
In Europe and in this country we are beginning to take rank and place
among the foremost artists of the world.

A young colored man recently painted a picture which has been accepted
by the Art Academy of Paris. They did not ask if the artist was
colored, but is he an artist of genius. In the domain of art color is
no bar. If you can equal or excel the masters the world will give you a
place in the temple of fame.

We have been called a musical people. But thus far the talent has
remained crude and undeveloped. Talent without cultivation yields poor
results. A young friend of mine who had a good voice, had the right
kind of stuff in him. He had a good voice and he knew it, he did not
let success turn his head, he got all he could at home, went to New
York and spent a year there, then went to Boston, studied a year there,
now he is going to _Italy_. In all the higher fields we have so much to
learn that we can not be too studious.

There is another realm in which we are gathering some fruits, and
that is the realm of literature. Here is a place, my friends, where
your color is no barrier to you. If you can write a poem equal to
Shakespeare's immortal Hamlet, or Dante's Inferno, or Milton's Paradise
Lost, they will give you the same place among the world's immortals.
When our opportunities are considered, our achievements in the domain
of letters can not be equalled by any other race.

Aside from building and maintaining schools and colleges, our boys and
girls have repeatedly won the honors in all the departments of higher
education. A few years ago there was a colored boy who won the honors
at an eastern college, the people said he was an exception to his race,
and they tried to find out if he did not have white blood in his veins.
But be it remembered that the men whom he excelled were picked men from
the best families of the land. And a picked man from the colored race
excelled the picked men of the white race assembled there, that is all.

To the young men and women of the race I say go forward along whatever
line your talent may lead. Many doors will be slammed in your face,
but if you continue to knock and are qualified you will find an
entrance. I would sooner help a man with a hungry brain than one with
a hungry stomach. In God's fair world there is enough food to satisfy
every growing and enquiring mind. Go forth and be filled. Giving back
in return to the world new and richer contributions to the world's
knowledge. Rich indeed are the fruits we have gathered from the fields
of human endeavor. Let us not fear to go forth and gather still richer
fruits. "Go forth to meet the future with a brave and manly heart."

[Illustration: Decoration]

The Fifteenth Amendment.

     Before man made us citizens, great nature made us free.--_Lowell._

     I must have liberty, withal as large a charter as the wind, to
     blow on whom I please.--_As You Like It._

_Mr. Toastmaster and Gentlemen_:

Three great sea voyages have had greater influence upon the history and
progress of the human race than any event which has happened since the
birth of Christ. The history of these voyages and their consequences
is the history of our country. Columbus, the inspired mariner of
Genoa, with a sublime courage almost without a parallel in history,
set sail; himself sailing into immortality, his caravels opening a
pathway through the unknown seas, until guided by propitious stars and
favoring winds they anchored at the gateway of the greatest continent
of the earth. A country compared to which, "the promised land flowing
with milk and honey," is but a beggar's pittance. A country upon whose
shores the tides of two great oceans ebb and flow; a country whose
mountains are filled with silver and gold, with coal and with iron, and
whose fertile valleys are threaded by the grandest network of navigable
rivers on the globe; a country with almost every variety of climate, of
fruit and of flower; this is the gem which Columbus snatched from the


But a country reserved for the representatives of every variety of
the human race. Old superstitions, old tyrannies and old despotisms
perished with the nations that they could not save. What though for
a few centuries the ghosts of these departing spirits did haunt our
shores, they could not stand before that advancing host of freemen,
every one of whom bore a scepter and wore a crown.

But the best that the heart felt and the mind conceived in those
civilizations which flourished on the banks of the Euphrates and the
Nile, the shores of the Mediterranean, at Athens, and on the banks of
the Tiber, was embalmed and transmitted through the centuries to find
here the only soil in which it could have development and growth.

Again the horizon is whitened by a sail. Not the caravels of Columbus,
but the Mayflower, bearing the Pilgrim Fathers and the germs of our
Republican institutions. Fleeing from oppression beyond the sea, coming
to dwell in the wilderness, with old Plymouth Rock for their cathedral,
their music the restless murmur of the sea, while the scene is lighted
by the lamps of heaven, the Pilgrim Fathers married Civil and Religious
Liberty to our country forever.

This continent is the great family mansion which God has built and
furnished with unlimited supplies for the purpose of reassembling the
scattered members of the human family, to enjoy together the fruits
of liberty, fraternity and prosperity. The Indian was already here,
but he was not permitted to level the forests, navigate the rivers,
till away the fertility of the soil, or to rob the mountains of their
wealth of gold, silver, iron and stone, until the other members of the
family arrived. When the roll was called, the Englishman, the German,
the Frenchman, the Spaniard, the Indian, each answered to his name.
When the Negro's name was called there was silence, each looked at the
other. The Negro was not here. He had no ship. He could not come. In
which condition of affairs his white brother rigged out a vessel and
brought him over. Our third great voyage is ended, bearing momentous
issues, another ship comes in from the sea. It is the old Dutch
man-of-war with her cargo of twenty Negroes, which landed at Jamestown,
Va., in 1619. Ever since the landing of this vessel the Negro has
answered "present" whenever his country called. When called upon to
drain the swamps and till the fair plantations of the South, though
beaten, cursed and robbed, rewarded with the severance of the tenderest
ties of affection, he answered, "present," every day for two hundred
and fifty years. American Independence, like every good gift, has been
bought with blood. And the first blood shed in its behalf was that of
the Negro patriot, Crispus Attucks. When the Revolutionary heroes were
being overcome by the British at the battle of Bunker's Hill, it was
Peter Salem, a Negro, who shot Major Pitcairn and turned the tide of
battle there.

Among all the nationalities and races of this country


The others came of their own accord, he had a pressing invitation to be
present here. But since the world began did ever guest cause so much
commotion in a national household? The other members of the family have
been fighting and contending about him ever since he arrived.

"Who is he?" As to his origin and identity scientists disagree, and
modern history is either silent or incoherent.


This question has divided churches and religious denominations; it
has sundered the fraternal ties of secret societies; it has perplexed
statesmen; it has divided parties; it has appealed to the highest
tribunal in the land for settlement, only to be more complicated by the
learned decisions of the courts; it has marshalled armies and nearly
caused "the government of the people by the people and for the people
to perish from the earth."

This question, "What shall we do with the Negro?" presented itself for
solution when the foundations of our government were laid. One of our
statesmen has observed that, "The compromises on the Slavery question,
inserted in the Constitution, were among the essential conditions
upon which the federal government was organized. If the African slave
trade had not been permitted to continue for twenty years, if it had
not been conceded that three-fifths of the slaves should be counted in
the apportionment of representatives in congress, if it had not been
agreed that fugitives from service should be returned to their owners,
the thirteen States would not have been able in 1787 'to form a more
perfect union.'"

Thus we see that the Negro has been in politics ever since the adoption
of the Constitution.

But, throughout the long night of bondage, for three quarters of a
century, not a single act designed for the betterment or advantage of
the Negro can be found upon the statute books of any Southern State.
Even as late as '62 the Democratic State convention of Pennsylvania
said: "This government was established exclusively for the white
race." In every State the Negro was denied those primary rights which
centuries before had been wrested from King John at Runnymede and
recorded in Magna Charta. The immortal principles laid down in the
Declaration of Independence loosed not the fetters of a slave. The
South were let alone until they caused eleven stars to fall from our
glorious flag, and it took a million bayonets to pin them back to the
place from which they had wandered, there to remain as long as the
Republic shall endure. When secession and rebellion threatened the
overthrow of the constitution and the peril of our national life, it


the party of the most illustrious names, the party of the most immortal
deeds that adorn the pages of our history--this party it was that
joined battle with rebellion, willing, in the language of Mr. Lincoln,
if God so willed, "to continue the war until all the wealth piled by
the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil should be
sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash should be paid
with another drawn by the sword."

Amid the cannon's roar the Republican party heard the voice of God, and
above the smoke of battle four million fetters towered like a monument
to heaven. To our country purged by fire and purified with blood, yea,
even with the blood of the slain and against the will of a united
Democracy the Republican party gave not only emancipation, but also
the highest dignity--a race clothed with the sacred right of elective

Failing to defeat the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, the
Democratic party have attempted to nullify it by murder, incineration,
intimidation and fraud. The political power which the Democratic party
lost on the battle-field they have sought to regain by committing a
rape on the ballot box more infamous than those widely published crimes
which that proverbial "burly negro fiend" is said at times to attempt
upon the purity of Southern homes. The South invests the Negro with the
_stripes_ of the flag it failed to destroy, but denies to him both the
promise and protection of its stars.

The Afro-American has voted the Republican ticket because the
Democratic party has willfully, continually and maliciously opposed
every law designed to secure his freedom, his franchise and his
enjoyment of the blessings of liberty; while all such laws in his
behalf have been passed by Republican votes and signed by Republican
presidents. The Democratic party, which thirty years ago sought the
Nation's life through the dissolution of the Union, is to-day in
rebellion against the Constitution of the United States through its
open and flagrant violation of the Fifteenth Amendment. There has not
been a fair election in any Southern State for more than seventeen
years. If slavery had not been destroyed it would have destroyed the
Union. Even so, if we do not put an end to


Nullification will put an end to our government as it now exists.
This subversion of the Fifteenth amendment by the Democratic party in
the "new South" is undermining the very foundation of the Republic.
The Negro is not the only nor perhaps the greatest sufferer by this
violence. It breeds disrespect for the fundamental principles of our
government on the part of those who silently permit this outrage to
proceed, as well as on the part of those guilty of its commission.
This violation is sowing the seed of anarchy. It substitutes for the
rule of the majority the rule of an unscrupulous minority. Under the
old regime, in the apportionment of representatives to Congress,
three-fifths of the Negroes were counted. Now all the Negroes are
counted, but in no Southern State is their vote counted for the party
or the candidate of their choice. Districts overwhelmingly Republican
send Democratic representatives to Congress. These men who ride into
the National Capitol over the bones of murdered men or by means of
intimidation and fraud, actually have three times the political power
of a man who has been honestly elected in Ohio, Pennsylvania or New

In States overwhelmingly Republican the electoral vote is openly given
to the candidate of the opposing party. Thus a president of the United
States may be made to take his seat athwart the graves of murdered
citizens, and to seize the reins of government in defiance to the will
of the lawfully constituted majority. The person who attacks or rebukes
this high-handed treason is accused of "waving the bloody shirt" and of
"seeking to stir up sectional hatred." The South comes forward with its
old cry, "Let us alone; we can settle all our own difficulties;" which
they have done, the shot-gun and the Winchester rifle coming in for a
large share of the glory.

The Republican press, Republican statesmen and Republican orators
have been too long silent. We have too easily abandoned the Southern
Republican to his fate on the grounds that the subversion of the
constitution cannot be stopped. But it is my deliberate judgment and
solemn belief that if Negroes were surrounding the ballot boxes with
shot-guns and keeping white men from the polls, we would find a way to
stop it. If Negroes were fraudulently seizing the representation in
scores of congressional districts and the electoral vote in a dozen
States, we would find a way to stop it.


We are told that if the Negro were given the free exercise of his
political powers he would ruin the industries of the South, that
Northern capital invested there would be sunk, and finally, that the
wealth and intelligence of the South will not submit to Negro rule. Too
many have been found ready to listen to this cunning apology for crime.
It is true that the Negro has registered no oath of allegiance to the
Democratic party, but to the best interests of his country his heart is
as true as the needle to the pole. Wise men may smile at his ignorance,
the rich may mock his poverty, fools may despise the color of his
skin; but an ignorant man, a poor man, a black man who is thoroughly
loyal, is a better and a safer voter than a rich man, an educated man,
and a white man who in his heart is disloyal to the Union and who
openly violates the Constitution and defies the laws. It is true that
conditions have changed and new issues have arisen, but the principles
of our government have not changed, nor have the rights guaranteed to
citizens by the Constitution been repealed. To the exclusion of almost
every other issue we have taken up


And I rejoice in the blessings which, through the wise legislation
of the Republican party, this policy has brought to the Nation. But
what does a man care about the tariff whose birthright has been taken
away. The question as to how the revenue for the support of the
government shall be raised should be considered a secondary issue
while the constitutional rights of citizens are being denied by the
Democratic party in more than a dozen States. The protection of
American industries, of American workmen and American homes against the
competition of the cheap labor of other countries is not worthy of our
undivided attention until that other American industry--the lynching of
Republicans for the constitutional assertion of their Republicanism--is
stopped; until it is as safe for a Republican to vote in Mississippi or
South Carolina as it is for a Democrat to vote in Pennsylvania or Ohio.

The Democrats claim that one of the chief causes contributing to their
overwhelming victory during the late unpleasantness, was the fact that
they kept prominent what they call


Issue." And by this they mean that, in the South at least, the Negro
shall not be allowed to vote and have it honestly returned. In other
words, they appealed for votes on the ground that, if intrusted with
power, the nullification of the Fifteenth Amendment should be made

The issue should be squarely met. The Republican party stood for the
enfranchisement of the Negro when his cause was unpopular, when it cost
tens of thousands of votes to do it.

Perhaps it would cost tens of thousands now, but it would also call to
our ranks hundreds of thousands of liberty-loving, patriotic men. For
the American people have a conscience, and when it is properly appealed
to and thoroughly aroused, though they may seem slow in the formation
of their judgments, of this let all parties take note--_in the end the
American people will do right_.

If this amendment cannot be enforced it should be repealed. But it
would be still better if the law were so amended that whenever a State
excludes the Negro from the right of suffrage, the Nation should have
power to exclude him from the basis of apportionment. For, as it is,
the Democrats have between forty and fifty congressmen and as many
electoral votes, fraudulently obtained, with which to start, and with
such a lead as this, it is difficult as parties are now divided for us
to win. But the Republican party has never taken a step backward. Her
history is the history of the most glorious days of the Republic. This
question may be often set aside and obscured by other issues from time
to time, but it will continue to come up and plead for settlement, as
throughout the Nation it breeds injustice in a thousand forms, it will
plead until its pleadings are heard. The American people are slow to
anger, and for this reason their indignation when aroused is all the
more terrible.

The spirit which resisted George III., which put down rebellion and
treason and which gave citizenship to the slave, as well as that other
spirit which, with a magnanimity unparalleled, threw the protecting
mantle of the flag of the Republic about those who sought its
destruction; this spirit, I say, is still abroad in the land. The old
cry of


And "Negro rule" is a false alarm. History does not record a single
instance in which the Negro has attempted unlawfully or by force to
dominate this country or any section thereof. He has never plotted or
perpetrated treason against the Constitution or the laws. He has never
given his vote in support of any measure against the best interests
of his country and his countrymen. He has a keen appreciation of his
condition and his needs. The Church has more charms for him than
Congress; he is more anxious to go to school than to the Senate; and
now, thank God, under the changed conditions of these latter days, he
is striving with more diligence to provide a home for his wife and
children than he is to obtain a mansion in the skies. But, while this
is true, he is striving more zealously to wear a crown in the kingdom
of heaven than for the uncertainty of being a ruler in the kingdoms
of men. When the party of his choice has rewarded his devotion by
appointing him to an humble office, with the promise of better things
to come, he has been satisfied and remained as faithful as the old
woman who shouted every time she went to church. One day her pastor
asked her if she was happy every time she shouted. "Why, no, I'm not
happy every time I shout," she said. "Then why do you shout?" he
inquired, and she replied, "Why when I'm not happy I just shout off
the promises." Like her, the Negro is Republican in season and out
of season. Whatever others may do there are no factional quarrels
among the colored citizens. They are as incorruptible as any class of
citizens in the State. They do not sulk in their tents on election
day, nor at the polls do they conceal a razor in the Australian
blanket in order to cut any member on the ticket from the head to
the foot. Despite outrage and desertion and wrong, despite passion
and prejudice, as long as the banner of Republicanism bears upon it
such illustrious names as Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Garfield, Blaine,
McKinley and Foraker with the principles which these names suggest, as
long as gratitude is kindled by the memories of the past, and while the
achievements of the present can give confidence to patriotic hearts, as
long as the star of hope sheds its rays upon the pathway of the party
of progress, bearing inspiring prophecies of victories to come, the
colored citizens of the United States will be among the last to desert
its standards or to let its sacred folds trail in the dust of dishonor
or defeat.

[Illustration: Decoration]

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