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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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.
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OUR POLITICAL STATUS. 5
to declare the Civil Rights Bill unconstitutional, the States are now beginning, though slowly, to take the matter in hand. This is a step in the right direction, and is the only way to wipe out speedily that infamous decision.
We are advised to wait and be patient. We have waited, and we have been patient; yea, more than this, we have, in a sense, prostrated ourselves at the feet of the government and remonstrated with it to give us our rights and protect us in the enjoyment of our freedom. What has been the result? Nothing as yet. In parts of the South the life of a negro is the least valuable of all living creatures. In Kentucky, one Thomas Crittenden killed a colored man for testifying to the truth. In Georgia another was taken from his bed at midnight, tarred, feathered and mercilessly whipped because he dared to raise the wages of negroes by offering them $1.25 per diem, instead of the usual 50 cents, to help him finish a contract.
Negroes are shot down if they testify against white men, and are likewise shot down if they refuse to do so. If they attempt to assert their civil and political rights in any manly way, they are mobbed, butchered and killed. If they nominate or assist in nominating one of their own number for office, the cry is at once heard, "negroes are drawing the race issue."
The following, entitled "Short Staples to the Front," explains itself. It is from a Southern paper:
"A report was current on the street that the negres will hang out a candidate for mayor, either one of their own number or some white man pledged to run the city at their dictation. Of the two alternatives we prefer the former. Since the step has been taken, the white men of Athens (Ga.) should hold a public meeting and center upon some good man, requesting the other candidates to come down, which they would doubtless do under the circumstances. Now is as good a time as any to draw the race issue, since the negroes have set the example."
This is poor logic, and if true, every time a white man is nominated for an office, the race issue is likewise drawn. If the nomination of a negro man means a race issue, the nomination of a white man means the same, and we as colored citizens of this great Republic have the same ground that our white citizens have
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