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The Rising son. (Kansas City, Mo.) 1896-19??, February 27, 1903, Image 1

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025494/1903-02-27/ed-1/seq-1/

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It Pays to Advertise In the Rising Gon
A Letter from Hon. John 8. Witt Re
plying to Virginia Judgt.
An Indictment Against Virginia
Methods and Unlawful Acta.
New York, December 22, 1902.
My Dear Judge:
Thank you once again for that tweet
kind letter bo grateful at this partlcu
lar time when so many folks are ty
ing mean things about me. They do
not disturb me, because I know I am
right and that they are wrong. When
a man knows he Is right he Is serene
and abuse does not ruffle him. The
knowldege that they are violating
plighted faith, and the doing mean.
disreputable and dishonest things
makes them irritable and abusive. In
a sense their wrath amuses me. In
another sense I am moved by pity for
their narrow-mindedness and vlndlc-
tiveness. They cannot turn back the
hands of time or obliterate history
I agree most heartily with all you
say about the Importance of denying
suffrage to ignorance, and limiting it
to intelligence. Any fair limitation of
the right to those sufficiently educated
to possess understanding as well as
character must be approved by every
right-thinking man: but when the Urn
SJUttaa nt tra'pose hi eod faith;
when they are applied with the con
fessed purpose of race discrimination;
and when they are enacted by fraudu
lent abandonment of pledge and in
dofiance of all authority; the ques-
tions resulting are broader than any
question of party or color and recur to
the proposition whether, in defiance of
law and precedent, a fractional oli
garchy. In perpetuity, can establish
itself, by ove rthrowing all Democratic
Republican government In any state of
the Union.
That is the question presented by
the Virginia situation. We are Just
at the threshold of the Inquiry. You
are much mistaken if you consider my
cause Is lost. I went to the courts
simply to have a judicial determina-
tlon whether the courts have power
to redress this character of wrong.
If the Supreme Court sustains the
views of the court below. Congress will
confront this Issue with no pretense
for saying the sufferers have redress
in the courts. It must meet the re
sponsibility, and cannot shut its eyes
to the fact that every promise of the
nation to the Negro race stands brok
en, in defiance of the pledges which
the states gave the nation thirty years
ago; and that if they are to remain
broken, the nation stands guilty of
wrong and a crime to these people.
No people can exist in a free com
munity without the power of self-protection.
The ideas of freedom and
political serfdom are Inconsistent. The
men who freed the slaves saw this so
clearly that they bestowed suffrage
upon the Negroes, as a means of poli
tical self-protection, pre-maturely.
Negro suffrage, as and when It was
conferred, was both a crime and a
blunder. It never ought to have been
conferred at the time It was. It ought
to have been made gradual. Rut it
was conferred, wisely or unwisely.
And the Southern States solemnly cov
enanted to accept It. At the present
time It is nothing like as dangerous
or as monstrous a proposition as it was
then. There are thousands and hun
dreds of thousands of Negroa fully
qualified for the exercise of suffrage.
The element of unllfted Ignorance
might easily be reached by equitable
laws if they were fairly administered;
and the evil might thus be practically
Rut foul device, thinly disguised,
but universally admitted, whereby It
Is sought to remit every Negro possi
ble to political slavery, without touch
ing the lowest or most Ignorant white,
Is repugnant to every sense of man
hood, of farsightedness, or good faith.
The Negro Is not what he was thirty
years ago. We, as much as anybody
else, have encouraged in hiru the aspir
ation for liberty and the sense of
manhood. With those feelings stimu
lated and those rights acknowledged
by us. we have seen him rear children,
pay his taxes, accumulate property,
vote, serve the state as her soldier
and grow up not only with the pride
of citizenship, but bearing its burdens
along with his white fellow-cltlzens.
Is It manly, Is it Just, ia it honest, to
seek now to filch him out of his
rights, to trample out his ambitions,
to remit him to a servile position?
Would any white race stand it? Can
we expect him to remain with us, so
degraded? Can we afford to lose him?
With his place vacant where would
we be? Do we not boast that he is
the best of servants? Are we not
spared the tyranny of more exciting
laboring classes? Would not our con
dition be pltable if by a course of mean
tyranny and the denial to him of rights
which we are pledged by every consid
eration of honor and of Interest to re
spect. If we drove him from our midst?
No, sir, we could not afford It. There
is not a pig-headed, bourbon, fool, Ne
gro-hater living who, when pressed,
will not admit these truths.
And If it be true that honor and self-
interest make It so that his lot Is cast
with us. In the name of reason and
humanity, I ask, what have we to lose
by being just and humane to him, or
by according to him those political
rights which white men deem esential
to the protection and the preservation
of their liberty?
God help the state that falls within
the control of small souls who cannot
see those great truths through the
bloody mists of race prejudice. If Vlr
gtnlSuslire 1ol large enough" afiti broad
enough to see them, then her old race
of statesmen Is extinct, and the pig
mies and degenerates who guide her
destines now will have to be curbed
and led away from political and eco
nomic suicide by the stronger and
broader and truer humanity which
controls the nation. Our people can
not ignore the existence of the nation
By bitter and bloody experience we
learned wf could not dfissolve ;he
Union. Against our will and in spite
of us, these black people were made
And. once more, if the Southern
people are so narrow and behind the
advancement of the age, as to seek to
violate their plighted faith, and to re
mand this race to slavery, they may
bring down upon themselves the heavy
hand which has never smitten them
without carrying Its point
We hear a great deal of fine talk
about the soverignty of these comraun
ities nowadays, and about their right
to regulate their own social and poll
Ileal problems. But Virginia's son
John Marshall warned them nearly a
century ago, that the soverignty was
subordinate to federal authority. In
matters which federal laws reach, and
the federal laws is supreme on ques-
tions of citizenship. They have paid
bitterly In the past for ignoring these
We heard much also of the duty to
maintain white supremacy. This talk
springs from no honest fear that
white supremacy is imperilled. It is
intended to enlist race sympathy from
those who will not take the trouble to
Inform themselves upon the problem.
Rut I say God help a white supremacy
attained by breach of plighted faith to
the nation; by cruel and unjust race
discrimination against the blacks; by
laws ordained without any legal sanc
tion; lacking in any broad apprehen
sion of the true relations between the
races; dictated by vicious and half
civilized race prejudice, and com
mitted, for their administration, to
willing tools, whose only Idea of civic
duty or loyalty is to work to perpe
tuate the rule of the faction which
installed them.
Do not tell me that government un
der any such auspices will be better.
No government so conceived or so ex
ecuted. win be better than the bad men
who sleze It, or the worst men who
administer It. It Is not democratic or
republican government. It Is the dom
ination of a faction which neither re
spects the principles of government
It pretends to administer, the rights
of the governmed, nor Its own pledges.
"Doing evil that good may come of It"
has been the pretense of usurpers and
tyrants from the time that govern
ment began, with the invariable re
sult that the evil has ben done and
the promised god did not come of It.
I feel a contempt for the expression
so often heard that even if the method
resorted to, to eliminate the Negro
vote, was bad and vicious, the results
will emancipate thought In Virginia
for It Retches More Htmes of Colored People than any other Paper
and build up what the parties using
this argument of con enlence are
pleased to predict, will be two respec
table parties there. In a word, that
with the Negro vote removed as a fus
ing Influence upon the whites, the
whites will divide upon public Issues,
as they have not done before.
Those who talk this way are of two
classes they are either Democrats,
who do not believe what they say. and
say it as a consoling balm to their own
consciences, or In order to reconcile
credulous opponents; or they are peo
ple who hope always for better things
and do not know the men who de
vised and are executing the scheme.
Verily, the man Is gullible who with
knowledge of the career of the people.
who have been piloting the politics of
Virginia for the past thirty years.
thinks that they have done anything
or planned anything which will per
mit the power which they have seized,
and in which they have Intrenched
themselves with such care and cun
ning, and toil, to slip from their grasp
now or hereafter.
Have not forty-seven of these men
ordained a constitution which they
were solemnly pledged .to snhmlt to
the people for ratification or rejec
tion? Have they not. while refusing
to take any oaths themselves. In di
rect defiance of the law under whica.
ihetf'.ere . aaactnbt,-- 'weeteH-1' rnt1w
of fealty to their work, from every
officeholder, great and small, in the
commonwealth, under threat of vacat
ing his office unless he acknowledges
their supremacy within thirty clays
from the time they asserted It?
Have they not deliberately, by ordi
nance, provided for the amendment of
all existing registration laws and the
disfranchisement of at least two-fifths
of the electorate which chose them,
without consulting that electroate, as
they promised to do?
Did they not so jealously regard this
new enrollment of voters that they
consulted their partisans in every part
of the state and named personally
every member of every registration
board In every magisterial district and
in every ward of the state. Who ever
saw such an act or ordinance as this
before? Were these men chosen to
carry out the plans of these conspira
tors, or for a fair and exalted purpose?
Let every citizen of Virginia, af
fected, by the work of these tools of
this conspiracy, answer this last query
In the light of his knowledge of the
character and attainments of the in
dividuals chosen at his home to do
this deed of political murder.
And finally, has not every appointee,
beneficiary and recipient of prefer
ment, since this alleged new constitu
tion has been put Into operation, lecn
one of those who planned it. and for
whose benefit Is won devised? Read
the list and answer me.
Do not tell me they intend to lose
their grip. The statement is a reflec
tlon upon your intelligence or upon
mine. I tell you they gained this
power, corruptly, to enjoy It them
selves: and will retain it as unscrupu
lously as they gained it.
Under the plea of fettering the Ne
gro they have fettered all the whites
also. There is no more hope of white
men successfully overcoming their fac
tional domination than there was that
black men. or black and white men,
would do so. The poor deluded people
of the state have, under the false fears
excited by appeals to their race prej
udices, allowed the coterie of Bourbon
politicians, typified by the leaders In
this convention, to fix upon them a
thraldom, the end of which no man
living can foresee, unless it is broken
by the power of the law; and judicially
declared to be, as It Is, an outrage
upon the rights of the people. It is
worse than any monarchy, for It has no
single head to chop off. It is as speci
ous in Its pretences of benefits, and
will be, if it is permitted to stand, as
tyrannical and corrupt as the Veni
tian Seignory of Forty.
In spite of all these people say to
the contrary, I love Old Virginia better
than any spot on earth, and her old
glory is as dear to me as to any
of her sons. am heartily ashamed
of what has been done there. I will
break it up root and branch if I can,
as a duty which I owe. not only to my
clients, but to my native slate. If I
cannot, that is all; but I am neither
afraid nor ashamed to try, even if I
bthe only white son of Virginia who
feAs as I do.
Is it or not natural that the Negroes,
wo are wronged by this thing, should
seek In every way In their power, to
obtain redress?
(Ate they so beneath the notice of
the law that they are not entitled to
iwk its protection?
Are their claims so preposterous and
outrageous that a reputable lawyer
cannot present and urge them without
aspersion upon his character and abil
JThese questions bring their own an
swers. A negative answer must come
torn every honest man. lawyer or lay
man, for It Is the boast of our profes
sion that no man Is so humble, or even
so base, that he is not entitled to have
tie best aspect of his case presented
to a court for judgment; and that no
human being is so low In the scale of
human rights or political consideration.
that the highest court in, the land
should turn a deaf ear to his prayer
for life, liberty and the pursuit of
,1 took their case, knowing full well
the unreasoning and brutal prejudice
my actions would excite. How could
I loubt this would be so. when I re
called that my father's life-long serv
lo to the state did not protect his
ry hairs from villainous aspersions
defended Calhoun in the may
oralty contest In Virginia In the sev
1 have undertaken the task of bring
ing these galants to hook, and we will
play this game to a finish. It may end
in the courts, or It may end in con
gress, or it may end in some other
way, but if they think it is ended or
that it Is even fairly begun, they are
reckoning without their host and woe
fully deluding themselves. It Is too
lnrge a game to be decided by out
throw of loaded dice. They are play
ing for political tower.
But my clients, a throng of inu.wio
of God's creatures, who have been
taught to think they are men and
promised manhood by their state and
nation, are not playing; they are pray
i:ig and struggling and antagonizing in
the Inquiry whether they are freemen
r sefrs and chattels.
At the end we shall know who is
right and who Is wrong; and. what
ever that end may be, I know 1 am
on the side of the weak against the
Mrong; of humanity against bigotry
and prejudice; of advancement ami
progress against obstruction and nega
tlon; of good faith against broken
pledges of honor; of popular rights
ngalnst unscrupulous usurpation: of
experience and enlightened civiliza
tion against the besotted prejudices of
the ex-slave-owner and the provlncla
jealousy of a lower type; upon the
ride of God aginst man's injustice and
the heartless, selfish trickery of smal
In all my life l never hud n cause in
the Justice of which I felt more confi
deuce, or advocated a measure which
I felt was more surely for the benefit
of all the ptniple concerned. Thus
feeling. I am unaffected by adverse
criticism and more and more resolved
to go on with the good work.
And the time will come when every,
body friend anil opponent will see.
that I was light right as God's pre
cept "I Mi unto others as ye would
they should do unto you."
Let this lie my answer to all thnt
has been said. I trust to time for my
vindication, and In the meantime am
just as well. Just as prosperous, ami
a happy as If the heathen did not
rage furiously against me.
Yours truly.
Warning to Lovars.
The man who rehearses hli pre
vious love affairs to his Inamorata
makes a big mistake. She's likely to
come right bark at him with the story
of her own life, and he may not like
It. Kememucr the good maxim. What
you don't know won't hurt you.
East Has G. A. R. Candidate.
A movement has been started In the
New England states for the election
of Major Austin S. Cushiuau of East
Orange, N. J., as commander In chief
fif the Grand Army of the llepublic at
the annual encampment iu San Fran
cisco next October.
The Blind Boone Concert Company.
whose territory of operation this sa
son embraces the northern part of the
United States and Camilla, reports un
precedented success. The tour thus
far has proven one of except tonal ad
vantage. The personnel ol the com
imnv is. as usual, tin to-date. each
member possessing the requited skill
Tbe Popular Soprana Singer With
the Blind Boone Concert Co.
The above Is a good likeness of
Miss Emma Smith, a prod mi of Kan
sas City, who is now tilling an engage -
lllent wit)) the Blind Boone Concert
Company. Miss Smith oyosscs a
splendid soprano voice, which is fast
bringing her into fame, she was reared
and schooled in Kansas City. ha Ing
After a heroic struggle Tor existence,
icing prejudice on account of location
and contending against financial odds,
the John Lang Hospital was obliged to
close Its doors and the committi
concluded to dispose of the property.
It was offered for sale last October,
anil finre then the Negro hospital has
been ill "Statu quo" and the "nulling
has been marked ' For Sale." Then
being no buyers. Dr. T. C. Unthank.
with the spirit characteristic of the
man, came forward ami made the hos
pital management a goo. offer, ami
u was accepted. There is some con
solation in this, for the property re
mains In the hands of colored people.
Hr. Unthank paid for the property
vtm J
Y i'i wfey
In the State.
that goes to make first class artists.
Blind B'Mtne Is at his lct and holds
his audience In wonderment while the
fair songsters supply the finishing
touches with professional mid artistic
precision. The Blind Bsne Concert
Company is an aggregation of talent
and an enterprise of which Kansas
City feels very proud ami its citizens
note with mm h delight the Mattering
success attendant iimii the sterling
efforts of its worthy manager, Mr.
John Uiug.
i graduated Irotii the Lincoln High
school. Miss Smith is the recipient of
many press notices ol high praise,
which is very pleasing to her many
friends in Kansas City, as well as
1 to the management ol the Blind Boom
music, before whom she has had the
honor of ap-ariiig. spiak of her as a
thorough artist. Her success is the re
sult of struggling pcrscicreneo and
her effort Is duly being rewarded
about $4 Just what it cost the com
mittee. He will use it as a homestead
and will move his family in :ust as
soon as the final papers are made out.
The property is located on Michigan
avenue, between 1 -M h and L'.lll streets,
an Ideal location for a residence and
will serve this purpose better. Dr. T.
C. Unthank is one of the most progres
sive citieiis. with a splendid praitice.
He is interested In all movements that
tend to benefit the race ami commun
ity in which lie lives. He has a high
ly cultured lady as a companion ami
an interesting baby of which he Is
justly proml. He is a positive, aggros
she, cilmatcd Negro of the younger
generation, who will yet make hi
mark as a credit to the race and honor
to hini-elf.

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