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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Convention of Colored Newspaper Men Cincinnati, August 4th, 1875, Wednesday A. M.
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political movements of our people, which are for the most part unheeded by the press of the country. That, which reflects credit upon us, seldom finds its way into print, only our criminals are sure of having their deeds reported.
5. We need papers for the discussion of a public policy, and for obtaining that unity of action that comes from a unity of views.
We meet, gentlemen, in an auspicious moment in the history of our race on this continent, a moment when we need not look to our friends to do all for us; because we are free to labor for ourselves.
On the staircase, leading to the gallery of the House of Representatives is a picture, representing a party of emigrants surmounting the last mountain barrier between them and the golden shores of the Pacific. Behind them is the thousand miles of travel over the trackless prairie, every step beset with danger: behind is the suffering encountered in passing the arid wastes of the Nevada deserts. The setting sun, borrowing its hues from the golden sands upon which it shines, irradiates the faces of the foremost men and causes the involuntary shout of joy, which lightens to a degree the toilworn faces of those who are yet far down in the shadows of the mountain slope, and who have not yet seen the glories of the promised land.
In like manner we are surmounting the last barrier, which stands between us and the universal recognition of our equal citizenship in the land of our birth.
But we are not yet entered upon the enjoyment of our birthright. Our poverty, our ignorance, our lack of union on the one hand, and the race prejudice and pride of the whites on the other, conspire to render our progress slow and painful, so slow, that at times we almost fancy that we have come to a full halt.
But we do move. We are gathering to ourselves the elements of national growth, and our posterity will stand in the future the unchallenged equals to the best in the land.
The old Grecian apothegna "know thyself" should be well pondered by our people before they enter upon this struggle. We should know ourselves, and we should know the obstacles which beset our path.
It is vain to hope that we can overcome this fight in a single day or generation of days even. We, who are at the front to-day, must expect to be laid in our graves before the victory is won. Let us so act, that when our sons take our places in the fight, that the surroundings shall be more favorable, and the difficulties to be overcome less formidable than to-day. If we can point to obstacles overcome by us, we will increase the hope and energy with which they will struggle.
The plebians of Rome, though of the same race with their patrician oppressors, found a century and a half consumed in the strife for equality. The commons of England waited from Henry II to James II, five hundred years, before they could call themselves freemen indeed.
We can not hope to do better; we may count ourselves happy if we do as well.
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