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An Address Delivered by Prof. W.S. Scarborough, of Wilberforce University, on Our Political Status, at the Colored Men's Inter-State Conference in the City of Pittsburgh, PA., Tuesday, April 29, 1884.

1884PA-National-Pittsburgh_Address (4).pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

OUR POLITICAL STATUS.

MR. PRESIDENT AND FELLOW-CITIZENS: —I am before you to-day to present a few thoughts on our political status. I come not in the interest of any party or sect, but in behalf of the rights of the colored people of these United States, which to me are of infinitely more importance than party or party organization.

As a race we have had an existence of a little more than two hundred and sixty years in America, either as slaves or as freemen. From the time the first Dutch vessel landed with its cargo of African slaves on the coast of Virginia, negro slavery, negro oppression and negro degradation have cursed the country. The old slave oligarchy, however, after the loss of hundreds of hundreds of precious lives and the expenditure of mints of money, crumbled and fell, and it was hoped that the darkest days in our country's history had passed, and that a new era had dawned upon us. But our hopes have not yet been realized. To-day there exist forms of servitude in the Southern States, ostracism and caste in our Northern States that can only find a parallel in anti[e]bellum times.

The Act known as the Missouri Compromise, passed in 1820 showed that the colored man had become an important factor in American politics, not actively but passively. As years rolled on, and as the excitement grew in intensity, the philanthropic voices of Gerrit Smith, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass and others, were heard in

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