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Franklin's paper the statesman. (Denver, Colo.) 1906-1912, March 13, 1909, Image 1

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Franklin's Paper The Statesman
Twentieth Year
POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
PASSES FROM THE SOUTH
The passing of the negro In na
tional convention, am! his gradual
loss of important political offices in
the South under Republican adminis
trations have foretold that sooner or
later some man of courage would
speak out and say that such appoint
ments did violence to the spirit of
democratic government Surely no
one Uvea who is so tar adrift os to
claim that public sentiment in the
South approves of colored office hold
In biffin place* We know that it i
Is In the power of the national gov-1
ernment to insist upon representa
tives In some places even against the
will of the section to which they are
appointed, and it is often for the good
of the service that the popular appli
cant fails to win the place. But as for
negroes, we bbth are unpopular, and
serve for excuse for harmful race agi
tation in some Our ability
to give good service will not win us
friends In the South, for it already
knows that we can make good and
for that very reason hates us the
more.
It is not the poor ignorant negro
who is an offsense in the eyes of the
South, but the progressive, educated
negro. To some degree this sentiment
Is reflected In tin* North, but Is not
nearly so strong Therefore when
President Taft declares for negro ap
pointinents where they arc most ac
ceptable. he but puts into an exact
declaration what conditions were al
ready bringing to pass.
Then. too. In this he is fnlr. South
orn negroes do not elect presidents
And they should not be the chief hen
eflciaries of the division of the k|kjll j
President Taft's opinions on t he* |
negro as given in his inaugural ad- j
dross were such a broadside as no
public man has yet delivered. It had
all the directness of a legal opinion,
with the boldness of a revolutionary,
pronunciamento. The negro "ques
tion” has been handled gingerly so.
long, that even those believing moat i!
in the President, did not expect such , i
an unqualified avowal of his belief in i
Justice for the black American as well i
DENVER, COLORADO, SATURDAY MARCH 1: 1909
as for the white. It was magnificent.
It was better than that—it was practi
cal. He struck aside all the flimsy
subterfuges under which custom hides
the pitiful condition of black Ameri
cans. and pointed out the part of our
betterment that must come from us.
and condemned the barriers which
communities would raise against us
1 under the form of law. We might go
on to praise the President at length,
but it is belter to give what he said
about us. and ii as follows:
The thirteenth amendment secured
them freedom; the fourteenth amend
ment due process of law. protection of
property and the pursuit of happi
ness; and the fifteenth amendment at
tempted to secure the Negro against
any deprivation of the privilege to
vote, because he was a Negro. The
thirteenth and fourteenth amendments
have been generally enforced and have
secured the objects for which they
were intended.
"While the fifteenth amendment has
not been generally observed in the
past .it ought to be observed, aud the
tendency of Southern legislation to
day is toward the enactment of elec
toral qualifications which shall square
with that amendment. Of course, the
mere adoption of a constitutional law
is only one step in the right direction.
It must be fairly and Justly enforced
a> well. In time both will come.
Hence it Is clear to all that the dom
ination of an ignorant, irresponsible
• lenient can be prevented bv constitu
tional laws which shall exclude from
voting both Negroes and whites not
: having education or other qualifica
tions thought to be necessary for a
proper electorate. The danger of the
control of an ignorant electorate lias
therefore passed. With this change.
| the interest which many of the South
cm white citizens take in the welfare
j of the Negroes has increased.
j "The colored men must base their
hope on the results of their own in
dustry. self-restraint, thrift and busi
ness success, as well as upon the aid
and com fori and sympathy which
they may receive fromp heir white
neighbors of the South. ' here was a
tim« when Northerners ' ho sympa
thized with the Negro in h s necessary
struggle for better condit ons sought
to give to him the suffraj e as a pro
tection. and to enforce ts exercise
against the prevailing sent ment of the
South. The movement pn ved to be a
failure.
What remains is tl e fifteenth
amendment to the cons' tution and
ihe light ;o »iare statut s of males
specifying qualifications or electors
subjected to the test of compliance
with that amendment. Tl s is a great
protection to the Negro, t never will
b«- repealed and it never ought to be
repealed. If it had not be n passed, it
might be difficult now to ; dopt it; but
with it in our fond&men al law. the
policy of Southern 1 .is ttion must
and will tend to obey it. and so long
as the statutes of the sla es meet the
test of this amendment ind are not
otherwise in conflict wit! the cons.i
tution and laws of the C lited States,
it is not the disposition < r within the
province of the federal g< vernment to
interfere with the regulat on by South
eru states of their dome: tic affairs.
There Is In the Sont a strongor
. let-ling than ever anion) the intelli
gent. well-to-do and inf icntial ele
ment in fawor of the ind' strial educa
tion of the Negro and tl ? encourage
ment of the race to mak - themselves
useful members of the community.
The progress which the Negro nas
made in the last fifty yea *s from ala*/-
cry. when its statistics ire reviewed,
the road: "Kongo Kin "Meeker
lls marvelous, and It fut ilshes every
reason to hope that in tl e next twen
ty-five years a still grei ter improve
ment in his condition as a productive
member of society, on t e farm, and
in the sbo pand in other occupations,
may come.
"The Negroes are no> Americans.
Their ancestors came he *e years ago
against their will, and his is their
only country and their 01 ly flag. They
have showr. themselves a ixious to live
Five Cents a Copy
for it and to die for it Encountering
the race feeling against them, subject
ed at times to cruel injustice glowing
out of it. they may well have our ro
found sympathy and aid in the s'nig
gle they are making.
We are charged with the saerca
duty of making their path as smooth
and easy as we can. Any recognition
of their distinguished men, any ap
pointment to office from among their
uumber. is property taken as au en
couragement, and an appreciation oi
their progress, and this just policy
'hall be pursued.
“But it may well admit of doubt
whether, in the of any race, an
appointment of one of their number to
a local office in a community in which
the race feeling is so widespread and
acute as to interfere with the ease and
facility with which the local govern
ment business can be done uy ine ap
pointee, is of sufficient benefit byway
of encouragement to the race to out
weigh the recurrence and increase of
race feeling which such an aupoiut
rnent is likely to engender.
“Therefore, the executive, in recog
nizing the Negro race by appointment,
must exercise a careful discretion nott
thereby to do it more harm than good.
On the other hand, we must be care
ful not to encourage the mere pre
tense of race feeling manufactured in
the interest of individual political am
bition.
“Personally, l have not the slightest
race prejudice or feeling, and recogni
tion of its existence only awakens in
my heart a deeper sympathy for those
who have to bear it or suffer from it,
and 1 question the wisdom of a policy
which is likely to increase it.
Meantime, if nothing is done to pre
vent. a better feeling between the Ne
groes and the whites in the South will
continue to grow .aud more and more
of the white people will coine to real
ize that the future of the Soth is to be
mch benefited hv the industrial and
intellectual progress of the Negro.
The exercise of ]>olltical franchise by
those of his race who are intelligent
and well-to-do will he acquiesced in,
and the right to vote will he withheld
only from the-ignorant and irresponsi
ble of both races."
A lenten musical tea given by the
girls’ league of the Church of the Re
deemer at the residence of Mrs. Geo.
S. Contee, 2612 Welton street, Thurs
day evening, March IS. Admission 10
cents.

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