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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Convention of Colored Newspaper Men Cincinnati, August 4th, 1875, Wednesday A. M.
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MR. CLARK'S ADDRESS.
Gentlemen of the Convention:—Probably no words are ever more sincere than those which a man utters when he returns thanks to his fellow men for honors conferred—Diogenes himself, if raised to the presidency of a conference of cynics, would have felt his natural moroseness softened, and couched his thanks in courteous phrase.
I will not, therefore waste time in assuring you that I profoundly thank you for the good will shown by placing me in this chair, but will endeavor to prove, by my devotion to the duties of my office, that I am grateful to you.
I can not look over this assemblage of gentlemen, representing the Colored Press of America, without realizing its feeble beginning, when Doctor Chas. B. Ray published in New York City, his "Colored American," then down through our long list of failures. the Ram's Horn, North Star, Mystery, Palladium of Liberty, Aliened American, Colored Citizen, Anglo African, New Era, and so forth and so on for quantity, to this day when twelve newspapers send their delegates to speak for them in this conference. Add to these the papers controlled by colored men, which are not here represented; then those upon which they have recognized positions as editorial writers, and the exhibit is an excellent one for a race, whose bodies, and worse, whose souls still bear the scars inflicted by the driver's whip.
I am now convinced that these earlier efforts were not failures. The pioneer who blazes a path into the wilderness, who erects there his cabin of logs, and contends for a few years with the malaria of the forest, its savage men and beasts, and then dies, is no failure. He demonstrates the possibility of what he has undertaken, and those who come after him make his possibility an actuality.
Those pioneer editors and publishers whom we are now considering, demonstrated that there is a possibility of maintaining a colored man's newspaper, when there shall be found conjoined the business skill and the editorial ability to meet the public want and command the public confidence.
There is more need for colored men's newspapers to-day than ever, for reasons which I shall briefly present:
1. No white man, however friendly, can feel our wrongs as acutely, or express our wants as fully as a colored man can.
2. Our young men need an opportunity to gain an experience and feel the stimulus afforded by newspaper writing, which experience and stimulus are grudgingly given by the conductors of white men's newspapers.
3. Our leading men need a personal organ for the promulgation of their views and the encouragement of their followers. This they need more than white men of the same class, because the expression of sentiment which is freely accorded to white men as a right, is given to colored men as a favor.
4. We need a paper for the dissemination of news, concerning the social, religious and
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