Viewing page 7 of 21
It looks like you're using a mobile device. We recommend using a physical keyboard for transcription entry.
among our people in Reconstruction days. Today, more statemen, representing our needs and aspirations, must arise from our ranks. We want to be known for what we are. We want to put an end to the slanders against our people. Isn't it true that our people were among those who laid the first bricks in our great civilization? Isn't it true that long ago in Africa our ancestors produced art of inestimable worth? This art has influenced the greatest painters, sculptors, and musicians of modern times. But because of the frightful oppression by the great powers for the last centuries these achievements of the people of Africa have been brought to an end. In Africa, some of our ancestors participated in Egyptian and Mohammedan civilization. Others built kingdoms of their own. The oldest Christian church is the Coptic Church of Ethiopia. There were Negro universities in Timbuctoo in the thirteenth century. It was our forefathers who discovered the smelting of iron. In America, from the beginning, no people have toiled more than our people to build this rich country. Isn't it true that in the crucial period in American history Negroes gave their efforts to the side of progress? Did we not help win independence? Did we not fight for own freedom, thus helping to unify the country? It was our hands that helped build the great railroads, the mighty steel mills. We helped produce American culture. It is for these things that we want to be known and to be respected. Why do we not share more of the abundance which we have created? Is it wrong that we want these simple things? 8 All these things which we have never possessed. For their possession, our people have only begun to unite. Life without the effort to obtain these things is an aimless life. The effort to achieve them gives life a purpose. Is this effort contradictory to the desires and aspirations of the white people? On the contrary, most of them need identically the same things. Our people suffer a little more, but it is through our special suffering that the economic royalists are able to more easily deny the white working people the opportunity for full human development. The entire South is dominated by Wall Street. So long as Wall Street and its Southern agents are able to play white against black, so long will the poverty of the South continue. The Southern people can raise the South to equality with the rest of the nation only by united action. Only unity of the white and black can save the South. For such unity of the whole people, we have only begun to fight. What are the barriers to the attainment of these simple things? They are the economic royalists, the fifty-six families who dominate America. They are those who try to destroy any progressive organization. They are the Tom Girdlers who defy the American "Bill of Rights." They are those who defy our whole constitutional form of government by organizing vigilantes, Black Legions, Ku Klux Klans. They are those who plot with foreign fascists to negate American democracy. They are the Southern Bourbons who disfranchise the people, both white and black, who flaunt the Constitution by denying the constitutional gains of the Civil War, who defend in Congress those Wall Street bankers who drain wealth out of the entire South. These people are 9
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact email@example.com.