Some Good in “Nazareth”

March 3, 1900

Summary

The Planet states blacks “need no advice” from “white brothers” over how to “make a place for [themselves] in the South. ”

Transcription

The Richmond, Va., Times in its issue of the 28th ult., under the caption of “Encouragement for the Black Man” remarks:
“We learn from the Birmingham papers that the Alabama Penny Savings and Loan Company, which was organized in the latter part of 1890 by enterprising colored men of that city, is new in a most flourishing condition. When the company began business it had a capital stock of $25000. Now it has $60,567.38 on deposit. It owns the building in which it does business and had deeds on thrity-four lots, seventeen of which have been improved and brign in a revenue of nearly two thousand dollars a year. For the year 1899 a dividend of 5 per cent was declared, and the company is altogether healthy and prosperous.”
It says:
“It gives us great pleasure to note these signs of thrift and enterprise among the colored people of the South. Such things speak well for the whites as well as for the blacks. They show that the black man has got a chance in the South, and that the white man is dispose to encourage him and help him along.”
We have never denied that some white men are disposed to help us along, but they do not embrace that element of the John E. Epps’ stripe, who are demagogues of the “first water,” stirring up strife, embittering race feeling, and retarding the growth of the commonwealth in which we live by producing a dissatisfied yeomanry.
The Times says:
“There is a flourishing banking institution in Richmond conducted by colored people, and many of the colored people, and many of the colored residents of this city are improving their condition materially, mentally, and morally every year.”
There are two banking institutions in this city conducted by the colored people—the Savings Bank, G. F., U. O. T. R., of which Rev. W. L. Taylor is president and Mr. R. T. Hill, cashier and the Nickel Savings Bank of which Dr. R. F. Tancil is president and Mr. E. A. Washington is cashier.
The colored people of Richmond pay taxes on $650,000 worth of property although you advocated and had passed the Land Grabber’s law which was designed to rob them of more than half of it.
Of course, however as in the case of the hunter who was caught in his own bear trap, your people have felt the effect of it and naturally are doing most of the howling.
The Times continues:
“There is no trouble between that class of blacks and the whites. The black man who conducts himself in a genteel way, who treats the white man with respect and consideration, who takes an interest in good government and good institutions, who shows himself, in short, to be a good citizen worthy of respect by the whites, and with all the consideration which he deserves.”
Of course there is no trouble between that class of blacks and the whites, except that of the demagogue’s making.
And yet it is a fact that this class of colored people are the only ones embarrassed and injured by men of your and John E. Epps’ stripe.
What does the low class colored people, the thugs—the boorish, the insulting elements care about a “Jim Crow” Car?
It is the respectable, the genteel, the educated, the property owing colored men and their families who feel the humiliation.
And yet, you do all in your power to injure, malign, misrepresent, and insult them, while assuring them that you are not after them but the other fellows.
We know who got the bullet fired from your rifle. It didn’t strike the fellow you said you were after and apologies now and parleying and explanations do not make us feel one whit better over the result of your blunder.
John E. Epps and his crowd knew who they were after and they made no mistake in their calculation. If you think they did, it is only an example of another simpleton being buncoed without knowing it and the perpetrator of the fraud is even now “down the street laughing.”
The Times has the audacity to say:
“But the black man can make a place for himself in the South. He can build up a society for himself, and those who are now taking the lead, if they will by degrees lift up their race to a higher plane. But the black man must make a standard for himself and for his society. The black man’s society must draw the line against the ignorant and vicious, the unrefined and the ill-mannered Negro. Ironclad rules, certainly as to morals and good manners, must be made and rigidly enforced. If such a society be organized the men and women of the black race will be inspired to qualify themselves, and the elevation of he Negro will be sure . Herein is the simple solution of the Negro problem.”
It tells us that we must draw the line among ourselves, while it has just gotten through with attempting to break down the line which we had established. It passed the “Jim Crow” Car law announcing virtually that we were lepers who deserve to be quarantined.
We need no advice alone the lines it had marked out for we began this work of elevation more than twenty years ago, and even as we improved ourselves, the result was manifest, and the influence overwhelming.
The more we improved ourselves the further the white brother wanted to get away from us.
Without education, good manners and those elevating characteristics with which we are now possessed, the white men of Virginia were satisfied with us on the steamboats, the railroads and their in private houses. With the improvement, they slam their doors in our faces, give us “Jim Crow” Steamboats and “Jim Crow” Cars and by other methods show the disapproval of our course in practicing the very virtues which our “one-eyed” contemporary commends.
Oh, these are strange newspaper editors; and a stranger class of white people reading the jargon which their journals contain.
Colored men, our destiny is in own hands. Hypocrisy is everywhere in evidence. Let us
“Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!”
About this article

Location on Page

Lower Left Quadrant

Contributed By

Elizabeth Lopez-Lopez

Citation

“Some Good in “Nazareth” ,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed January 30, 2023, https://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1087.