A Colored Man’s Predicament

May 25, 1907


The only black man in a town in Virginia received a note telling him “to leave town.” Later he was stopped by a local officer and arrested for carrying a gun.


A Colored Man’s Predicament
A strange report comes from Witchester, Va., stating that Mr. Samuel Mason, the only colored resident at Temberville, Va. had been served with notice by the prominent residents of that place to leave the neighborhood. No intimation is given that he was not an industrious and law-abiding citizen.
When he got the notice, he gave out another notice to the effect that any one interfering with him would need the services of the local undertaker. This was taken to be plain unadulterated insolence on the part of a Negro. He was not attacked, but he was arrested at a time he least expected and a revolver was found on his person.
This was considered a violation of the law against concealed weapons and he has been heavily fined by a magistrate and is now in jail at Woodstock, Va. We are at a loss to understand what these people expected this citizen to do after his life had been threatened. He could have applied for permission to carry a revolver or he could have carried the revolver unconcealed and he would have been within the latter and spirit of the law.
It seems that just in proportion as we gain white friends, we increase the bitterness of our white enemies. Our sympathies are naturally with Mason and we would be in favor of a white man who pursued a similar course. For our own part, we would carry a brace of revolvers and be a walking arsenal so to speak had we been threatened in the same way that he has been. We would then have the pleasure of at least “dying with our boots on” with the satisfaction of filling a brave man’s grave rather than that of a coward.
Mason deserves help and we hope that he will get it, provided the facts are as before stated. Race prejudice is on the increase and so is race progress. We are losing in some places, but we are gaining in many others. Oh, that the colored man in this country would first he a friend to himself before he expects others to be a friend to him.
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Benton Camper


“A Colored Man’s Predicament,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed July 17, 2019, http://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/499.