Slandered our Women

November 11, 1899


A black woman responds to a white woman's claims that black mother's do a poor job, and says she "would advise the lady not to write up subjects where her race is so deeply involved in the great wrong and sin they have placed upon this people."


A Ringing Reply to Mrs Harris.
In reply to an article published in the “Atlantic Constitution” of June 4, 1899, by Mrs L. H. Harris, concerning virtues of the Negro woman of the South, the time has come for a honest statement of fats from the Negro’s side of the question. I admit there are low, degraded Negroes in the south and how could it be otherwise? But I ask the question, why?

The lust that killeth,
In the days of slavery when the masters would take young slave girls, seduce them, make them yield to satisfy their animal passions and the Negro woman dared not refuse; take their own daughter and sell them to Negro tradera for their mistresses. Now, I ask, is their any wonder under these conditions?
She speaks of the Negro lacking “honor and noble ambitions.” Is there any wonder that the Negro of the south lacks honor and noble ambitions when they were born under the lash, bound in chains, sold like mules?

The Doomed Daughter,
She speaks of a “doomed daughter of a mother hardened by crime” Is there any wonder that this mother should not be hardened when she has seen her daughter sold for this fiendish purpose by her master?
She speaks of the “marriage vows.” There were some masters of the south who did not allow their Negro women to marry as they liked. They had to suit them in many cases just as a man breeding fine stock. He would not allow them to marry outside of his own premises and therefore mated them as he liked.
I say it is wrong to condemn the Negro of today for this, that was forced upon them by their masters centuries ago. They stole the Negro from his native country, brought him to America, mixed in their Caucasian blood and now condemn him for the disgrace.

The cause of the Trouble
I say the Negro’s virtue should not be spoken of by the Caucasian who is responsible for the mixed blood that flows in the veins of the Negro today. I say it is a disgrace to any southern woman to write an article of the kind concerning the Negro woman’s virtue. It does not reflect much credit on the white men of the south.
If this lady would only take the time she spends writing of Negro women’s virtue, use it in missionary work among the low, degraded class of white women, she would be doing a grand work. “Charity should begin at home” and to help to save the harlots among her own sex who have fallen of their own accord, unlike the poor Negro girl I saw sold in Richmond VA, in 1862, who when her master sent for her to come and spend the night with him she said, “She would die first,” and what was the result? She was taken in the guardhouse and severely whipped. There was her mother and sister to witness this great wrong.
This lady says her purpose is to call attention to the debased motherhood of the Negro of the south. I would advise the lady not to write up subjects where her race is so deeply involved in the great wrong and sin they have placed upon this people.
(Mrs) E. V. Harrod
About this article

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Upper Left Quadrant


Contributed By

Elias Sturim


“Slandered our Women,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed June 20, 2024,