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Negro in the Present Campaign
			
           THE NEGRO IN THE PRESENT CAMPAIGN.              115

broad and far-reaching. They may not result in the enactment
of a single law, or change a single word in the Statute Book, and
yet may essentially affect the great law of public sentiment and
change it for good or for evil.  Precisely in this respect is the
importance of the present election. The need of the hour, for
the Negro, is not so much a written law (though this is important)
as the unwritten law of public sentiment. To whomsoever else,
therefore, the pending election may seem of slight importance, a
mere game of chance and simply a race for victory and spoils, it
cannot be so regarded by any intelligent Negro. To him it has
a solemn significance and is a matter of life and death. If for
him other times have been critical, the present is more so than
were any in the past. This is especially true in the Southern
States. He is there subjected to a lawless, vengeful reign of
terror, more wanton and cruel and relentless, if possible, than any
in the days of his bondage. The freedom and citizenship which
he gained by his valor and good behavior during the war for the
Union and during the reconstruction period, and which were
secured to him by the justice and wisdom of the Republican
party, are to-day openly in question. The problem with which
he is confronted is, whether he shall be an alien in the land of
his birth or shall continue to hold unimpaired and undiminished
the rights guaranteed to him by the United States Constitution.
  In view of the great issues involved and of the dangers im-
pending, it is sad to think that in this campaign any Negro may
so act as to endanger the lives and liberties of his brothers in the
South, and to also injure in the North the good name of his race.
Such would certainly be the case should any support be given
by him to the Democratic party-the party which has always
endeavored to degrade his race-and should he refuse to support
the Republican party-the party which has always endeavored
to improve the conditions of his existence. No such danger
could have been apprehended at any period during the earlier
years of our freedom. The path of duty was then illumed and
made plain by the fresh glow of freedom and by the gratitude of
warm hearts to those who had secured our deliverance from
slavery. Now that path seems to have become, to some of our
number, dark, sinuous and bewildering. It can no longer be
doubted that a few Negroes at the North have gone wrong and
are trying to induce others to follow in the same way. Ambitious
aspirants have arisen among them, giving them sophistry for
argument, fiction for fact, and loud pretensions of love for the
race without credence, have succeeded in seducing some from
principle and misleading them.
  These mischief-makers and marplots have gone about this
work in a very crafty manner. They have first endeavored to
make out a case against the Republican party, representing that
it has done nothing for the Negro from principle, and that even
if it has we owe it nothing; that if there ever existed an obli-




			
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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 09, Num. 2

Negro in the Present Campaign

Volume:  09
Issue Number:  02
Page Number:  114
Date:  10/01/1892


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