Monday, January 2, 2017

Emancipation Day Celebrated in Raleigh, 'No Africa For Us,' 1910

“’No Africa For Us’ Raleigh All Right,” from the Farmer and Mechanic newspaper, published in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 4, 1910

Colored People of City on Emancipation Day…Incentives to Progress…Oration of Day Was Delivered by Prof. J.H. Branch, the Emancipation Proclamation and a Poem Were Read, the Meeting Endorsing Negro Semi-Centennial and Urging That Raleigh Be Selected as Place for the Exposition

The colored people of Raleigh take no stock in the suggested purpose of ex-President Roosevelt in Africa, that he has gone there to spy out a land “flowing with milk and honey” to which to deport the negro race. This was evinced yesterday at the Emancipation Day celebration held in the colored Masonic Temple in Raleigh.

The objection to the suggested plan of back to Africa for the negroes of the United States was voiced at the meeting by Col. James H. Young, a leader of his race. He addresses the meeting at the close of the regular address and after some remarks showing the friendly feeling between the races in Raleigh said that it was reported that Mr. Roosevelt was in Africa for the purpose of securing a land to which to deport the American negroes, “That project is all poppycock,” said Colonel Yung. “Mr. Roosevelt or no one else can take us to Africa. We are at peace with the people here and we are going to stay. The white man has brought us to America and he must take care of us in this country.”

The meeting was a largely attended one, and it lasted for over three yours. Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, and it was fully celebrated here, there being an address, reading of the proclamation, the reading of an original poem, adoption of resolutions concerning the day and the progress of the race and the adoption of a resolution setting out that the semi-centennial exposition to be held to mark the emancipation of the race be held in Raleigh.

The meeting was presided over by Dr. L.B. Capehart, president of the day, who introduced the speakers and those who offered resolutions concerning the day and the events connected with it. The general resolutions of the day were offered by W.M. Graves, chairman of the committee, and those concerning the semi-centennial exposition by C.N. Hunter. The poem of the day was by Lula M. Jordan, a teacher in the Washington graded school, of Raleigh, this having as its subject “Rejoicing Over Freedom.”

The Resolutions Adopted

The general resolutions were those in which good feeling was emphasized. In it the colored people were congratulated on the strides being made by the race in education, in finance, and in morals, advising that the colored people to stay in the South and on farms, buy land, pay taxes and cultivate friendship with the white race. In the resolutions thanks were given the white people for their friendship, especial stress being laid on the friendly feeling between the races which now exists.

The resolutions which pertained to the negro semi-centennial exposition to commemorate the Proclamation of Emancipation set out that it had been endorsed by the President of the United States, who had recommended it to Congress, and that as the movement had its inception in North Carolina during the preparation for the Jamestown Exposition in 1906, that therefore the meeting give it hearty support urged the Senators and Representatives to support it, and expressed full sympathy with the purpose to secure the holding of the exposition in Raleigh, saying “That in no State of the American Union have the white people shown a more liberal spirit towards the advancement of the negro, and we have every assurance that favorable action in this instance will meet a response such as will be given by no other State in the Union.”

The Emancipation Proclamation was read by Claudius Haywood and after it came the address of the day by Prof. J.H. Branch of Raleigh. After this Col. James H. Young spoke in praise of the address, told of the friendly feeling of the white people of Raleigh towards the colored people and of the harmony between the races here. A mark of this good feeling he said has been shown when, after the burning of St. Paul’s Church, such men as Messrs. Josephus Daniels, N.B. Broughton, R.T. Gray, John T. Pullen and others had given active aid and assistance in the movement to rebuild that church. 

In the course of his address he declared that the purported purpose of ex-President Roosevelt to secure a country in Africa to which to deport the negroes of this country is all “poppy-cock,” that the negro is getting on well in the South. He urged his race to be industrious, thrifty, law abiding and self respecting, so as to obtain self respect. He moved a vote of thanks to the officers and those taking part in the meeting and this resolution was adopted.

Address of the Day

The address of Prof. J.H. Branch, the principal of Washington Graded School, colored, of Raleigh, was heard with interest. It was a long one and it went into detail with reference to the colored race and its progress. It declared that “we cherish no feeling of bitterness against those who held us as slaves,” and then spoke of the responsibilities which rested on the negro, that “a man to be free must have deep in his soul a desire to be free,” that proclamations and such things are perfunctory outside of this. In the course of his remarks he said in part:

“Those who have fixed habits of economy should assist the negro in contracting the same habits by actual taking hold of the plow with him and assisting him in his efforts. We need, therefore, the assistance of a strong arm of those who have formed correct habits of life and who have the time, patience, and heart to assist us. What the colored people of this country need is not charity but the means to assist themselves. It is a fact, though seldom admitted, that the Anglo-Saxon is, as a general rule, more ignorant concerning the negro than the negro is of him, and naturally so, for having the pride of his own race at heart, the Anglo-Saxon acting on the assumption that the negro because of his previous condition possesses nothing worthy of consideration; therefore he disdains to read negro literature, his papers and books are discarded, his intelligent men ignored and his acquisition despised.

“The negro citizen should be a tax payer. If the negro, therefore, owns and controls property he will be consulted. There is no way to ignore him. Ownership is an essential element of good citizenship, The negro must have as a race, more respect for the women of the race, the same respect and honor that the white man shows to his womanhood. Our home life must be made higher and nobler.

“The young element of our race are committing too many crimes. One of the main causes is that they are idly standing on the streets, loafing around the lowest dives and dens of infamy and crime. To a large extent the parents are responsible for this condition of affairs.

“We have in the South two distinct and widely varying races. They differ in their social makeup. These distinct characteristics can not be changed. Any attempt to alter them fails and produces harm. In their industrial life there is no need of friction; no need of racial antagonism. The negro may prosper. The white man may prosper. No man should fail. Let the strong white man do justice.

“Not long since I read an article to the effect that ex-President Roosevelt is planning to have us go back to our native land to carry the torch of civilization and say to hose of our race in Africa, ‘Arise and shine, for the light has come.’ But we have become so intimately connected with the Americans in so many ways that it would be almost impossible to tell which branch of the negro family should go to Africa or which should remain in America. Then the thing is impracticable and we cannot for a moment think of such a thing. Some say that we must go, that we cannot live in this country, but must return and leave this country for the Anglo-Saxon to inhabit. Now in the name of the intelligence pf the race I give notice to all concerned that we do not intend to leave this country unless it be of our own free will and accord.

“The negro is an indispensable necessity to the growth, progress and civilization of the world. Without the negro, Christianity would be like an equipoise; for while the white man gives its system, logic and abstraction, the negro is necessary to impact feeling; sanctioned emotions, heart throbs and ecstasy. Thus God and nature need the negro, for without him there would be an aching void in earth and heaven.”

The speaker in referring to the destruction by fire of the splendid colored Methodist Church of this city, said:

“When conflagration and destruction seized with hot hands the beautiful edifice of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of this city, the good white people of this community, under the superb leadership and inspiration of Hon. Josephus Daniels and Mr. N.B. Broughton, sympathized deeply with the colored people in their sore distress and contributed liberally for its immediate rebuilding and today we have the assurance from them that in the near future the colored people of this city shall have a grander and greater St. Paul. Make friends with the white people in your community and State, and conduct yourselves in a manner so as to deserve it. There is nothing to be gained by enmity, but there is much to be gained by the cultivation of a friendly spirit. One great regret with me is that the young white people and the young colored people are not as a rule, as friendly as their fathers were. Make friends, I say, both North and South. Be obliging and courteous; be ladies and gentlemen."

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