A Strong Plank
June 27, 1908
The Republican National Committee assures that in their decision-making, they must “protect and defend the rights of all men, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The Republican National Convention made no mistake in incorporating in its platform a guarantee that it will protect and defend the rights of all men, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The plank concerning the American Negro is the strongest declaration of principles that has appeared in the platform of that party in forty years. There is no mistaking its meaning. It has met the issue squarely and we cannot help believing that the antagonistic forces that for a week or more kept up a ceaseless agitation upon this question were responsible for its adoption. It will enable the colored leader to go up to their people with a plea upon which to appeal to them for support. As the matter stood before Hon. Charles W. Anderson, Hon. William T. Vernon, Hon. Cyrus Fields Adams, Hon. John C. Daney, Hon. Ralph W. Tyler and a host of other prominent leader were hopelessly handicapped by the attitude of the Republican leaders, who endorses the “lily white” movement and who had made no secret of their hostility to the Negro and all movements essential to his welfare. So far as the colored people are concerned, Hon. William H. Taft is the weakest candidate the Republican could have nominated, with the possible exception of the distinguished President Theodore Roosevelt. But this plank is a revelation so far as it discloses the revival of the interest in the Negro. Whether Mr. Taft will stand squarely upon the platform, his letter of acceptance will disclose. If he follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, he will stand on those planks that suit him and rip up others that meet his displeasure and put others in their places. Still, “we shall see what we shall see.” We are much pleased with this plank and the colored man,who cannot see in it evidences of returning sanity on the part of the great Republican organization so far as it relates to its attitude toward the “brother in black” is blind indeed. Here is the plank: “The Republican party has been for more than fifty years the consistent friend of the American Negro. It gave him freedom and citizenship. It wrote into the organic law the declarations that proclaim his civil and political rights, and it believes today that his noteworthy progress in intelligence, industry, and good citizenship has earned the respect and encouragement of the nation. We demand equal justice for all men, without regard to race or color: we declare, once more, and without reservation, for the enforcement in letter and spirit of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the constitution, which were designed for the protection and advancement of the Negro, and we condemn all devices that have for their real aim his disfranchisement for reason of color alone, as unfair, un-American and repugnant to the supreme law of the land…”
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“A Strong Plank,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed June 7, 2020, http://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/643.