A Discussion on the Color Line, 1902

A Discussion on the Color Line, 1902

Thoughts Upon the Much Discussed Color Line
– Fomer Union Soldier Frank Miller, 6/28/1902

In this State we are not familiar with the conditions in the Southern States and in some points we
are not competent as critics, but the problem greatly concerns the whole Nation and therefore it
is our duty to consider it. If one-third of the population of California were composed of Chinese men
and women who were serving us as contract laborers, and if these should be promoted suddenly
to the ranks of citizens with the grant of manhood suffrage, then we would find that the Chinese,
being numerically superior in certain counties, would there assume the political control and would
become offensively aggressive in many ways. By this comparison we see that the question before
us is complicated and difficult and its solution is distant and dangerous. The immediate problem at
the close of the Civil War, in 1865, was whether a large standing army should be kept in each of the
Southern States. Wisely tnat plan was not followed; the ballot was given to the negro and the armies
were disbanded. At first the colored men displayed unusual incapacity for self-government, as was
to be expected, and the white men naturally rallied and took by ballot stuffing the control of politics,
choosing the lesser evil of technical fraud to the greater curse of armed rebellion. Realizing that
even the forms of law cannot be broken with impunity, the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas and Maryland have passed laws which are designed to prevent
the negroes from voting, although the ronstitution of the United States declares that the right to
vote shall not be withheld because of previous servitude.

These State laws mainly prescribe that no man shall vote unless he pays taxes on $300 or more; and
as such a law is applicable to men of all colors It is probably good law and will stand; it will serve its
purpose and disfranchise most of the negroes because they are poor and not each possessed of $800
in property. It Is true that there are other clauses in the Mississippi laws which permit any man to vote who
can understand any part of the State Constitution when it Is read to him. We will not discuss these laws
any further because their necessity seems to be appreciated by the people of this Nation and because
similar laws in every Northern State would be welcomed by a large class of citizens. There Is. however,
a very Important result to flow from this kind of legislation under a, superior clause of the Constitution
of the United States. which enacts that the number of Representatives from any State in the Federal
Congress shall be decicided by the census and from the census figure there shall be deducted In each
State the class of citizens who is not allowed to vote.. The Southern States will lose fifteen or more
Representatives In Congress under this rule and they should submit to eat loss with composure. The
administration of criminal law in every State of the Union is most deplorable, and especially in the
Southern States; no portion of our country, no group of our citizens of any class is exempt from the
possibility of being involved in a breach of peace or a lynchng of a prisoner, Where race prejudice
exists these usurpations of law are more common and rnost injurious. :Inasmuch as all the states
have about the same system of criminal law and as the Influence of popular opinion Is very great
as between the States, we find that every American is responsible for evils which must be cured
peaceably rather than by forming a more despotic Government.

It is the boast of our lawyers that they form the strongest class in every Legislature and In every
Congress; they make our laws while receiving pay from the people; as soon as that pay ceases
they hire out to defend those who have broken these laws. The Constitution of the United States
says that every accused person shall have a trial and a lawyer for his defense; but, as a matter
of fact, the prosecution of criminals In any community is entrusted to one District Attorney, while the
same community supports a hundred lawyers to oppose him. Hence delays and miscarriages of
justice; hence causes for an excited people occasionally to take vengeance into their own hands and
to execute swift justice, or Injustice, as chance may dictate. Each county In the United States should
elect and pay a “Public Defender” and he and the District Attorney should be the only persons privileged
to appear in any criminal use as attorneys. Innocent virtue then would be sufficiently defended and
speedier justice would fall on the guilty, leaving to no man the excuse that mob law is made necessary
because Statute law Is broken chiefly by the architects who build It. The greatest need of our land
Is a great Lawyer; one who will remodel the criminal law; one who will know statesmanship, and
jurisprudence; and one who will be loyal to the common-wealth before being loyal to a client. Our
reputation for giving fair play to an inferior class of dwellers in our own land will make or mar us In
the distant islands of the Pacific Ocean, where we must touch tribes and people. of whose names
we have not as yet an accurate list. On the second largest island of the Philippines there are tribes
of savages whose designations or states are not even known to the Spaniards American capital from
California is seeking to open roads In those lands where fear and treachery prevail and where true
tales of the color line carried from this country to those islands will block progress for many years.

England has learned bitter lessons in India; she lost an entire army of 16,000 men-only one man escaping;
and she realizes that the peace and dignity of her kingdom must be maintained first at home if she would
maintain her authority abroad. One day of rioting in London would startle the world and one month there of
rebellion would cause 100,000,000 of the natives in India to rise in another mutiny against the best authority
that India has over known. Every intelligent person should read Wendell Phillips’ lecture on Toussaint L’Ouerture
in San Domingo and Puerto Rico upon the fact that we are also assuming large responsibilities in Puerto Rico
and in the West Indies. The honor of this whole Nation is attached to this perpetual problem of legislating on
the color line. As individuals It Is reasonable to say that each person of our 80,000,000 inhabitants has a line
of duty to ascertain and to follow; for combined sentiment Is all powerful. In forty of the largest cities In the
United States’ there are 600,000 negro women, most of whom are domestic servants; this class of women
will continue to leave the fields and farms and get into the towns and cities where they can make easier and
better IhIngs. The frequent contact and inevitable Intercourse between individuals of differing classes cannot
be guided by laws; It must be governed by common sense so that dignity, Justice and kindness shall be given
and received by all alike. Herein our wives and daughters must do Important work without being narrow-minded.
The rules of life In India are founded upon the hard teachings of centuries of over-population and suffering,
and those rules are beneficent and unchangeable because they are the out-growth of overpowering events.

In India caste exists-and there caste means color: In India caste rests upon the religious Idea of an indelible
stain resting upon certain men, and the social Idea of certain functions being committed to certain classes;
it places great difficulties In the way of forming laws and governing: but no degradation from caste has ever
recurred; and It Is said by some to have helped social tranquility and progress in industries, though this view
is combated by other observers. The Catholic Church has never succeeded in obliterating race prejudice.
social distinctions or caste. The Episcopal Church has found it useless to attempt to make over the heathen
Into second-class Einglishmen; and It is apparent that social equality has never existed and will never exist,
even among New York’s upper circle, where vanity and sentiment will forever prevent the writing of an undisputed
list of the first One Hundred or the first Four Hundred. While social equality does nut exist it is clearly the duty and
policy of every person by example and precept to assist every other person to become first-class In the position
In life in which God has placed him or her. Any sin of omission or commission will react upon the offender. There
are 27,000,000 white women in the Northern States who can advance civilization or retard it. They can encourage
the forming of happy homes of negro families who shall have self-respect, for our colored people may some day
take as much pride in their descent as do now some of our best citizens who come from Cherokee stock. Shall
our fair land drift into a worse condition like that when the Egyptian handmaiden Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram
and despised Sarai, the wife of Abram? The men of this Nation have made plenty of laws which do not improve
the spirit of the times; they cannot create the faith, hope and charity which are the only factors available to ameliorate
the degrading influence of race prejudice. The women of this Nation can act with such dignity and wisdom as to
elevate the dishonor of the color line into a burden of Providence which the subject can carry with contentment
and improvement. Our land is destined to be an empire of mixed bloods and a conglomeration of all races. Caste
and stagnation will lower the average of such a, people Unless the mass is kept in motion and improved.

Schools, newspapers and railroads must amalgamate us and transform its into uniform units, and stun discipline
must drive us all forward, crushing the unfortunate and permitting the fittest to survive. This Nation has just been
through the crucible of fate upon this very question; those who suffered personally are passing away into their graves
so fast that the rising generation may forget the lessons their fathers were taught. Three hundred years ago ten
or twenty slaves were brought into Virginia and then slavery was common the world over. Few gave the subject
much attention except the Quakers. As recently as one hundred years ago slavery was not a burning Issue in the
new United States of America. Then began the rapid growth of cotton. Cotton was King and the King wanted
territory. In 1860 there were 4.000,000 slaves In the Southern States and 8,000.000 whites. The negro was
described as “graven In the image of God and out of ebony, while his master was carved In the Image of the
devil and out of ivory.” the original thirteen States had each obtained and segregated one thirteenth part of all
of the western territory then held in common it is probable that secession would have been enacted peaceably;
but that common territory was gradually formed Into States and the proposed divorce was between parents whose
progeny had some power and some right to prevent that divorce. I can recollect the fugitive slave law and how I
saw a jail broken open in Wisconsin to release a runaway who had been arrested and placed there by an United
States Marshal. I can recollect the bursting of the reservoirs of hate, the beginning of the war, when every man
seemed inflated with Jealousy, egotism and oversensitive Ideas of caste. For four years our country was given
over to the horrors of civil strife. In vain did Lincoln write the word “Union” at the top of a shed of blank paper and
tell the Confederates to write anything else below it: ln vain did he offer to pay them for their slaves, showing that
the saving of war expenses to us for a term of three months would cancel the entire bill. At last the bravest of men
had to yield but not until freedom came to 4,000,000 blacks at the cost of the lives of 500,000 white soldiers.
Permit me here to record my testimony as a private soldier in the regiment which has been proven to have
lost a larger percent. of those present in battle by death than any other regiment.

The Second Wisconsin Infantry Regiment had 1200 members and 240 were killed In battle; every fifth man fell dead
in his place in the ranks. The wounded and missing were still more numerous. Except in some minor engagements
we were always beaten to a standstill. First and Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg crushed
thu regiment out of existence. Now through the humiliation of the Valley of Death, through sin and folly having learned
some wisdom, the men of the North and South wish to stand together united and to raise up into freedom those who
once were slaves. The Blue and Cray meet now at Gettysbutg and review that terrible battle of three days-and go to
the spot where Picketts charge broke into the Union line and the attacking column was itself destroyed, and read with sad
hearts the marble monuments. which there stand as denoting the clash and mixture of Union and Rebel regiments-the
high water mark of the Rebellion. Then the Blue and the Gray go Into the adjoining cemetery with its ranks of thousands
of tombstones and stand before the platform and with assenting spirit listen again to the words of one who said: Let us
here resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that our Nation under God, shall enter on a new birth of freedom:
that government of the people. by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth. The 66,000.000 whites
of the North and the 17,000,000 whites of the South have a problem which Is concisely stated by Booker Washington,
the leading negro of the 5,000,000 negroes In the South. He said to the Southerners: “Nearly 16,000.hands will aid
you in pulling the load upwards. or they will pull against you the load downwards. We shall eobetitute one-third and
more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third of its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one
-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South or we shall prone a veritable body of death. stagnating,
depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.” We cannot lay down definite rules; we can only say
that, with Justice pervading this great Nation and with fair play animating each Individual, we mak lessen the
serious evils which now exist about the color-line.

The Color Line from a Southern Point of View
– Fomer Confederate Soldier Nathan La Fayette Bachman, 7/12/1902

In The Bee of June 28th appears an article on “The Color Line.” by Mr. Prank Miller, to which I desire to give
attention-not in a spirit of controversy, but to conserve the facts of history and to point out some erroneous
conclusions. Mr. Miller was, he says, a soldier in the Second Wisconsin Infantry-a regiment that received some
very rough usage, and whose rate of casualty was high, but not-as he supposes-the highest, on either side.
Pennsylvania I will probably carry the banner in that respect for years to come, while the Eighth Texas, Rebel
Cavalry, has ”the right of the line” on the other side. It is but fair to state that I fought, bled and-survived on
“the other side”-Tennessee Cavalry-and am probably better able to speak from personal knowledge touching
the “color line” and the status of the negro in the South than is Mr. Miller. Before proceeding to that subject,
I call attention to Mr. Miller’s statement, as follows: In vain did Lincoln write the word “Union” at the top of a
sheet of blank paper and tell the Confederates to write anything else below it; in vain did he offer to pay them
for their slaves, etc, etc. That statement, like the battle of Lookout Mountain as depicted in the average school
history, is, to use the sarcastic paradox of Mark Twain, “one of those historic incidents which never occurred.”
That “Union” incident has been exploded time and again, and by the men who were officially present when
President Lincoln met the Confederate Commissioners near Fortress Monroe. They have asserted that no
such incident occurred, nor could have occurred, and for the reason that Mr. Lincoln’s first inquiry was to ask
if the Confederate Commissioners were invested with plenary powers to end the war on the basis of preserving
the Union, and was told that their powers were neither plenary nor authorizing them to consider anything beyond
a method of peaceful separation. Mr. Lincoln at once refused further conference and they at once separated,
he telling one of the members in parting that the South was making a great mistake. There was no sheet of
blank paper with “Union” at the top of it-nor paper displayed at all-for it is said that the party was not even
seated, for the conference was prompt and hurried, and devoid of formally.

So this legend, like “Sheridan’s Ride,” and “Barbara Frietchle”-the figments of the orator’s fancy poet’s dream
-must be relegated to the limbo of historic myths. They will not down for all that, but rise again and again to
torment the future historian. unless Colonel O.K. McClure, of Philadelphia, shall have at last laid that tormenting
and confusing “Union” ghost. The difficulty In discussing the origin and existence of the “color line” is Involved in
that of the history of American slavery, the facts of which later generations either do not know or evade. Most of
them, I am inclined to think, have Imbibed their impressions of the relations of master and slave from that splendid,
bad book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”-splendid in its genius, possibly true in its chief incidental facts, but wholly false in
its impressions. But for it the great blot might have been erased by agencies other than blood. I say this advisedly,
for there was at the time of the war and running thence back to earliest colonial days a strong anti-slavery sentiment
atnong the best thinkers of the South. As a slave-holder by inheritance and one reared in the atmosphere of that
discussion, I may speak advisedly. The Virginia House of Delegates’ time and again passed enactments prohibiting
the slave trade, which the King vetoed. The first famous speech of Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of
Independence, was made (1761) in opposition to slavery and the slave trade. And when independence was Indeed
won by the Thirteen Colonies (twelve of which were slave States), the slave trade would have been suppressed
and slavery abolished If the Southern colonies could have had their way. But of twenty-one slavers, nineteen
thereof sailed from Bo Harbor and, to quote the language of Rev, E.E. Hose D.D.L.L.D, In his historical review
of “Elihu Embree, Abolitionist,” (whose plantations In East Tennessee adjoined those of my own family), touching
the lucrative, business of man-stealing (see Historical Magazine, Vol II, No. 2, also Publications Vanderbilt,
Southern History Society, No. 2): Historic truthfulness make it necessary to add that divers arid sundry of
the God-fearing Inhabitants of New England were also turning a dirty dollar in the same nefarious business.

Nor, so long us it paid, were there any manifestations of holy horror for the infamous traffic nor the unnatural
subjection of fellow-man slavery. It may be interesting to note in this connection that the John-Street Methodist
Church. of New York City, commonly styled “The Cradle of American Methodism,” was, in its corporate capacity,a
slave-holder. The stewards of that congregation, in order to make entirely sure of having a good sexton, purchased
one Peter, a negro, on the installment plan. So the good pastor had the unique opportunity of preaching on a
text on obedience from Peter, the Apostle to Peter the Chattel. Furthermore, it will be remembered that when
the Constitution of the United States was framed it was from New England that the demand came to continue
the slave trade until 1808, in order to protect her capital invested In vessels engaged in the profitable adventure
of “black-birding.” Once that cotton planting sprang into commercial importance in the South, negro labor
-now unprofitable at the North-came into demand, and nearly all of the negroes in the North were sent South.
This gave New England a chance to “reform” and then abolish the remnants of her slavery. At the South there
was a strong sentiment, both religious and secular, among the most enlightened, looking toward the gradual
manumission of the negro, after the manner of the State of New York in the later ’20s, and societies to that end
were being established. But through radical Church agitation, it degenerated into a Church fight between the
North and South. New England demanded that the progeny of her sins be set free. This was resented naturally
as an impertinence, and many other things occurred-such as the Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia-to scotch
the work and change the current of events to the channel leading up to their manumission by Abraham Lincoln
by one stroke of the pen-a strike that raised almost as many questions as it settled. With the end of the war came
the establishment of laws and regulations to meet the demands of new conditions.

This should have been the task of the best legal minds or the men who were statesnien rather than politicians.
Prior to the war, the negro and the whites in the South grew up together and mingled in daily business affairs.
As a rule the slave was fairly well treated and cared for. if his owner was not prompted thereto by instincts of
humanity, there was the stimulus of his money value. Therefore the relations between master and slave were
usually agreeable, and in many Instances the affection of the slave amounted to devotion. I recall no tenderer
scene In recent history than the devotion of the old slaves of General Wade Hampton, who followed him to the
brink of the grave. A little more than a year ago there was buried on the old plantation a grand old negro pensioner
of my family who, among all men I ever knew, stood in my affections next after- my father. He was cared for
and buried with honor. That there were slave-owners who abused their people is all too true. But they were-by
reason of vigorous public sentiment abroad In that country-scarcer by far than the men who, in your own town,
abuse their families. That there was every confidence placed In the loyalty of the negroes was shown by the fact
that when the war called every able-bodied male from 16 to 60-from the cradle to the grave-into the service, they
confidently entrusted the women, the children, and their property to the honor and protection of the negro: and
few are the instances where that confidence was misplaced. There were no rapes or outrages committed. When
the war was ended the personal relations of master and man were of the most satisfactory character. There
was no chafing against the “color line.” In fact, there had been a consistent effort to maintain the “color line”
as established by the Almighty In Its pristine and unbleached purity and integrity. Such being the came at
that time, the question naturally arises: What hat brought about the strained conditions that now exist with
regard to the “color line?” The answer is: False political methods-national legislative mistakes, and outside
intermeddling by a lot of fussy, Impertinent people who have a panacea for all the political ills-of others
-and neither understand the negroes nor the whites.

The negro was accustomed to the patriarchal form of government which a condition of slavery placed over
him-he knew no other-and though set free, he must still lean upon someone for guidance. As yet he was not
a political factor. Neither was his disfranchised master. So these political nonentities proceeded to the work
of rehabilitating the industries of the devastated South. The Union Army was soon disbanded and the better
clement of it Immediately returned home-leaving behind the ruff-scuff and scalawags to prey upon the country.
Then began the sentimental crusade at the North to extend the elective franchise to the negro, and it was done
-though as a matter of fact nearly all the property-owners of the South were still disfranchised. This placed the
negro with a vote at the mercy of the scalawags and carpet-bagger with a conscienceless scheme for loot.
They made the negro believe that, as they had set him free, it was his duty to vote as they demanded. There
was no Democratic Party there then. There was only the Republican Party, divided into two branches-the
“radical” and the “conservative”-and these twain fought It out, with the property of the South for the chopping
block. The result was ruin to the people and ruin to the financial credit of the States. Before the people of the
South could get the clutch of the carpet-bagger from their throats, they had well nigh made grand larceny
an impossible offense. I have paid taxes at the rate of $6.76 on the $100 valuation where the legal rate of
interest was 6 percent. And this too, on lands rendered unproductive of income by the ravages of war. The
carpetbagger gave the negro lust enough political crumbs to make him hungry for more and to render him
worthless as a producer, and thus held him fast as a political ally-while he himself feathered his nest with
the money raised by taxation and pledging the credit of the State. One scarce can imagine the intolerable
renditions that flowed from extending the franchise to the negrn under these circumstances.

Prior to the war there was a strong political alignment in the South between the Whigs and Democrats, each having
able and patriotic proponents. The Whig Party had faded with the war-the Republican Party in a measure succeeding
to its following. Had the disfranchised Southerner been re-enfranchised at the same time as the negro was enfranchised
-or before-the probabilities are that the Southern Whigs would substantially all have gone into the Republican Party, as
a Democratic opposition, from principle, Over half the command to which I had the fortune to be attached went into the
Republican Party, as it was. It would have been but natural that the negro, under then-existing conditions, would have
followed his former master. For the negro, if he is honest and capable of making a political decision based on reasons,
must divide on political issues, just as do the whites-no matter of what race or country. It is inconceivable that substantially
an entire race of intelligent people should honestly be all on one side of the great, political issues of this country. That
division between the parties would have permanently disposed of the political “color line.” That they did not so divide,
and that they did become the political tools of political adventurers, is matter of history. It is also matter of history that
the impoverished tax-payer resorted to strenuous measures to gain rellef-some of them not defensible In law or good
morals-but at a time when the purpose of law was to oppress, and morals were an unknown commodity. When the ex
-Confederates were at last re-enfranchised. a remarkable thing occurred in politics-one that changed the entire character
of the Democratic Party In the South, both In Its nature and principles. The property-owners-In order to shake off the
vampires-nearly to a man went Into the Democratic Party as a means for Immediate self-protection. Many of them
were still Whigs at heart and true to the principles and teachings of that party, and to which the antebellum Democrat
was still as radically opposed as ever. The result is that they have been about as harmonious internally as the
so-called fusion of the Democrats and Populists-a, continued confusion.

However, It was the best they could do under the circumstances, so they united to wrest the control of the State
from the men who were wrecking it. The fight was fierce and the negro was arrayed against them. Methods wholly
indefensible were common to both sides. But the political “color line” was burnt in-big, bold and black-and It will
take years for the hark of a charitable feeling to grow over that seared scar and cover it. But that problem will be
solved; and solved, too, by the people of the South. The influence of big, brainy negro men like Booker T. Washington
will in time be felt. The negro, under intelligent leadership and with education, will work out his own redemption
and restore harmony between the races. But force bills, Congressional wrangling and outside intermeddling can
only do harm and delay results. As to the property qualification for voters, I am opposed to it as heartily as I am
to a poll tax. I believe in man-hood suffrage, as distinguished from suffrage depending upon the ownership of
a. band of burros. I favor an educational test, at least as strong as that of this State. Each State has the right
to establish its own regulations-whether it establishes an educational or a property qualification in a Southern
State, or permits a foreigner one year in the country to vote if he has filed his declaration of intention to become
a citizen, as established by a, Northwestern State. As to the social “color line.” I see no reason to discuss it.
Like other lines of demarcation fixed by the Creator in His Infinite wisdom, they appeal to me as His expression
of a purpose-no matter what-that was intended to be observed. They are a distinctive class and race, and
should remain such. The associations of the members of the distinctive races of human beings, whether
they are, as Fuller suggests, “God’s images carved in ivory, or amber, or ebony.” may well be left to the
choice or inclinations of the individuals themselves.

The attempt to enforce social equality, or to establish a social commonwealth, either by legal enactments or
public agitation, Is certain to fail and to promote discord and antagonism as well. Tabby and the terrler may
peacefully share the rug before the fire in commendable harmony. But let some meddlesome person begin
pitching them together In closer relations and the result is a war that disgraces the household. Every right and
privilege of citizenship must be maintained to all, regardless of race, creed, or color; but it is not necessary,
nor Is it a wise disposition of time and effort, to attempt to return the social Ideas and practices of one part of
the country and make them conform to those of another part of It. I have spent many years of my life In interior
New York and in New England, amid charming and much-praised associations, and formed friendships that
shall be cherished through life; but those people never could be made to understand why I-confessedly reared,
by force of circumstances, at the breast of a negro “mammy,” whose angel memory I devoutly cherish-should
maintain the policy of a segregation of the intimate social relations of distinct races-a belief that Is neither confused
nor shaken by a remarkable hybrid now and then. I have faith in the negro race as I have in my country, in
that it will work out its own destiny, In Its own way, In God’s appointed time. And I do not think these super
-serviceable; and meddlesome people, wrangling, about the “color line,” can materially improve upon the
plans of the Almighty, much as they are convinced to the contrary. If left alone-free from ignorant agitation
from without, which simply serves to engender resentment-the races in the South will grow back to the old
harmony of conditions that existed at the close of the war, and the artificial antagonistic “color line” will fade
back to the “oolor line” of culture-fade as steadily and surely as that of the “Blue and the Grey) have Into an,
eternal harmony. I, for one, deem the words of Mr. Lincoln at Gettysburg the grandest pronouncement since
the Declaration of Independence, and pursuing in purpose its spirit. I yield: precedence In devotion to the
Union.I and all it represents or symbolizes, to no man, unless, perchance, he marched! to music of the Union
in the grandest conflict since man first warred with his brother-and took a look at me over a rifle barrel.

The Color Line Again Discussed
– Former Confederate Soldier J.W. St. Clair, 7/24/1902

Two interestIng articles on this subject have been written, and, while expressing the views, the honest views of
the writers, they are, In my opinion, wide of the true cause for the so-called color line. Like Mr. Bachman, I wore
the gray in the service of the “Lost Cause.” For four years, I was engaged in the most gigantic war that has ever
cursed the world. Now, in the faint glow of life’s low western sun, I record my sincere convictions that there is only
one cause for the colorr line, which I shall presently develop. Those who were not of the South during the years
immediately after the war can form no conception of the riotous waste, the prodigal use of money by the carpet
-baggers who then ruled In the name of the Republican Party. They were not Republicans. they were thieves,
bummers, low hangers-on of the Army. “cankers of a calm world and long peace”; there was not a gentleman
among them, or If there was, the prospect of unlimited plunder soon corrupted them and they were worse than
the low, debauched villains by whom they were surrounded. I have seen a negro from the corn-field elected to
the Legielature, illiterate, not even knowing the alphabet, arrive in Atlanta, Georgia. dregged In osnaburg, on
the morrow strutting down the street, with silk hat, Prince Albert coat, patent leather shoes, gold watch chain,
flaming necktie and all the accessories of dress so dear to the negro heart. The carpet-baggers had decked
this bird of rare plumage that he might vote with them on the bond question. Tens of thousands of these. bonds
were sold to Wall Street men. who hold them yet, for they have been repudiated and will never be paid. Such
a carnival of extravagance was never known. Champagne, old whisky, fine cigars, were free to the Legislature
and to all vagabonds who pretended to be of Sherman’s Army. Silk dresses were openly bought for the wives
and daughters of the negro lawmakers: diamonds, watches and all kinds of bric-a-brac were shamelessly bought
and sold by the cormorant Jews, who flocked harpy-like, to the obscene feast: nor were the gentiles behind their
Jewish confereres In the wild exploitation of a hapless and helpless people. Smooth-shaven gentlemen from New
York, Vercont. especially from New Jersey, were seen arm In arm with negroes so black that night were put to shame.

Miscenation. the dream of more cultured negroes, seemed on the point of accomplishment. when, lot as
shifts the scene in a theater, the fairy gold turned to worthless leaves. There Is a question in the minds of all
thinking men, whether R.B. Hayes was fairly elected to the Presidency of the United States. With the partisan:
view of the question, we have no controversy, but the South owes a debt of eternal gratitude to Rutherford B.
Hayes, who first removed the bayonets from the throats of the Southern people. With the withdrawal of the
United States troops, as if by enchantment Cinderella resumed her rags; the whilom negro statesman returned
to the cotton field: the carpet-bagger fled the wrath of a Justly vindictive, people, who had been plundered,
outraged and abused through a long series of years, that have no parallel in history, white Legislatures were
elected, but the clock of material progress in the South had been set back for tweny five years. Thoughtful
Southern men saw in this apotheosis of the negro brief and fleeting though the glimpse. the true danger, the
dark cloud menacing us, the desire of negro leaders for SOCIAL EQUALITY: there is the reason for the color
line. The leaders of the negro race see clearly that they must forever remain the inferior race, unless social
equality be established. Disguise it as they may, social equality is the dream of the leading negroes, an lridscent
dream, never to be accomplished on this earth. Let me give an instance of many. During the campaign in North
Carolina to eliminate the illiterate vote, I was one day standing in a drug store waiting to accompany the owner
to supper. Enter a tall, black negro, white tie and silk hat. proclaiming him to be a preacher. With a ceremonious
but vindictive bow, he saluted me.

Myself- “I think this campaign is becoming too hot. I said things in my speech yesterday, about negro preachers,
which need some qualification.”

Preacher- “Dat so, boss. I mighty glad to hear you say so.”

Myself-“Yes, all you need is social equality. The nigger will never amount to much without social equality.”

Preacher-“Dat’s so! Dat’s so! I am mighty glad to hear you say so.”

Myself-“Yes, you will surely get social equality. The prince and the peasant. the rich and the poor, all have social
equality, when the negro will get it-in the grave.”

A swift change came over the smiling face: the shining black changed to an ashen hue, and without another word he
marched out and in the words of John Bunyan, “we saw him no more.” Too much praise cannot be given to the better
class of negroes for their strict attention to the betterment of their material condition. During the war they raised hogs,
cattle and corn for our soldiers in the field. and took care of the women and children at home. In South Carolina, a white
marble shaft towers to the skies, on which is engraved: “To the faithful slaves who cared for the women and children during
the Civil War, while their masters were fighting the batte of freedom.” Social equality then, is the true cause of the color
line. Had It not been for the desire of the preachers and politicians of the negro race for social equality, there would have
never been a color line. Miscegenation, of course. would have been impossible, but the kindliest feelings would today
exist between the two races. In conclusion, permit me to say that all agitation by psuedo philanthropic old men in petticoats
and fussy old women in trousers can do no good, but great harm. The Southern people, “unawed by power, unbribed by
gain,” will settle the negro problem. Temperately, wisely and firmly they will seek that Higher Guide, under whom, the
obedient Nations have flourished and shall flourish as, green bay trees.

A Colored Man on the Color Line
– W.F. Delainey, 8/1/1902

In your issue of July 14th is a. letter written by J.W. St. Clair of Yuba city, purporting to give.the neutral cause for the color
line. He starts off to up in aid the carpet-baggers, which is exactly right, for If they hail never been sent into the South
the conditions both the white and blacks would be far better today. As he says they elected men to positions that they
were not qualified to fill. Although it was no fault of theirs, nevertheless they were not qualified and embittered the whites
of the South against them. The negro is confiding and having been taught for over 200 years to rely upon the statement
of the white man, and being truthful himself, believed everybody else to be the same. He readily followed the advice of
the carpet-bagger, and was also glad to accept encouraging words from Mr. St. Clair. To use St. Clair’s words In speaking
to a negro preacher: “I think this campaign Is becoming too hot I said things in my speech yesterday about negro preachers,
which need some qualifications.”The preacher answered: “That’s so, boss, mighty glad to hear you say so.” St. Clair with his misleading statement: “Yea all you need is social equality. The nigger never will amount to much without social equality ‘”The preacher answered. “Dat’s so, dat’s so. l am mighty glad to hear you say So.” St. Clair: “yes you will surely get social equality.
The prince and the peasant, the rich and the poor all have social equality when the negro will get it-in the grave.” “A swift
change came over his smiling face; the shining black changed to an ashen hue. And without another word he marched out.”
I will say for the preacher that it was not loss of hope of social equality that caused his dejected feeling, but the knowledge
that he had been misled by one whom he had been taught to believe could not lie. I will say that the color line only applies
to the men of the negro race. The women of my race have always, since the landing of the first cargo of human freight,
caused a color blindness to come over the white men of the ‘South, although we were all so black, to use the gentleman’s
expression that we put night to shame. As proof of my statement, I will ask you to step into the Southern States and
view the different colors among my race. I will ask what caused it?

I will say the cause is called social equality and if it was committed under the same conditions (force) by men of my race
upon white women of the South, all the newspapers of the country would call it a fiendish outrage. No, the negro has
never fallen over himself and broken his neck for social equality even when he had a chance to do so, as the following
from the pen of Mr. St. Clair will prove notwithstanding the negro knew that his master was fighting to keep him in
slavery: “Too much praise cannot be given to the better class of negroes for their strict attention to the betterment of their
material condition. During the war they raised hogs, cattle and corn for our soldiers in the field, and took care of the
women and children at home. In South t’arollna white marble shaft towers to the skies on which Is engraved: “To the
faithful slaves who cared for the women and children during the civil War. while their masters were fighting the battle of
freedom.” I will say that the only and true cause for the color line Is the negro’s determination to stand erect and be a man.

Last Updated on October 10, 2020 by Bill Arp

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