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Old 27 February 2008, 05:16 PM
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Icon07 12 things the Negro must do for himself

Comment: I received this rather inspiring, but somewhat demeaning message
in my inbox this morning. Could you research and see if there is any truth
to the authenticity of the author.

-------------------

Thought you might find this interesting.


Written by a black woman in the 1900's

-------------------


12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself
by Nannie Helen Burroughs
(Circa Early 1900's)


1. The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are:
Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership.

The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in
show and in having what he calls 'a good time.' The Dr. Kelly Miller
said, 'Th e Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he needs.'


2. The Negro Must Stop Expecting God and White Folk To Do For Him What He Can Do For Himself.

It is the 'Divine Plan' that the strong shall help the weak, but
even God does not do for man what man can do for himself. The Negro will
have to do exactly what Jesus told the man (in John 5:8) to do -- Carry his
own load -- 'Take up your bed and walk.'

3. The Negro Must Keep Himself, His Children And His Home Clean And Make
The Surroundings In Which He Lives Comfortable and Attractive.

He must learn to 'run his community up' -- not down. We can
segregate by law, we integrate only by living. Civilization is not a
matter of race, it is a matter of standards. Believe it or not -- some day,
some race is going to outdo the Anglo-Saxon, completely. It can be the
Negro race, if the Negro gets sense enough. Civilization goes up and down
that way.

4. The Negro Must Learn To Dress More Appropriately For Work And For
Leisure.

Knowing what to wear -- how to wear it -- when to wear it and where
to wear it, are earmarks of common sense, culture and also an index to
character.

5. The Negro Must Make His Religion An Everyday Practice And Not Just A
Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Emotional Affair.

6. The Negro Must Highly Resolve To Wipe Out Mass Ignorance.

The leaders of the race must teach and inspi re the masses to
become eager and determined to improve mentally, morally and spiritually,
and to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship.

We should initiate an intensive literacy campaign in America, as
well as in Africa. Ignorance -- satisfied ignorance -- is a
millstone about the neck of the race. It is democracy's greatest burden.

Social integration is a relationship attained as a result of the
cultivation of kindred social ideals, interests and standards.

It is a blending process that requires time, understanding and
kindred purposes to achieve. Likes alone and not laws can do it.

7. The Negro Must Stop Charging His Failures Up To His 'Color' And To
White People's Attitude.

The truth of the matter is that good service and conduct will
make senseless race prejudice fade like mist before the rising sun.

God never intended that a man's color shall be anything other
than a badge of distinction . It is high time that all races were
learning that fact. The Negro must first QUALIFY for whatever position he
wants. Purpose, initiative, ingenuity and industry are the keys that all
men use to get what they want. The Negro will have to do the same. He
must make himself a workman who is too skilled not to be wanted, and too
DEPENDABLE not to be on the job, according to promise or plan. He will
never become a vital factor in industry until he learns to put into his
work the vitalizing force of initiative, skill and dependability. He has
gone 'RIGHTS' mad and 'DUTY' dumb.

8. The Negro Must Overcome His Bad Job Habits.

He must make a brand new reputation for himself in the world of
labor. His bad job habits are absenteeism, funerals to attend, or a
little business to look after. The Negro runs an off and on business. He
also has a bad reputation for conduct on the job -- such as petty
quarreling with other help, incessant loud talking about nothing; loafing,
carelessness, due to lack of job pride; insolence, gum chewing and -- too
often -- liquor drinking. Just plain bad job habits!

9. He Must Improve His Conduct In Public Places.

Taken as a whole, he is entirely too loud and too ill-mannered.

There is much talk about wiping out racial segregation and also
much talk about achieving integration.

Segregation is a physical arrangement by which people are separated in various services.

It is definitely up to the Negro to wipe out the apparent justification or excuse for segregation.

The only effective way to do it is to clean up and keep clean. By practice, cleanliness
will become a habit and habit becomes character.

10. The Negro Must Learn How To Operate Business For People -- Not For
Negro People, Only.

To do business, he will have to remove all typical 'earmarks,'
business principles; measure up to accepted standards and meet stimulating
competition, graciously -- in fact, he must learn to welcome competition.

11. The Average So-Called Educated Negro Will Have To Come Down Out Of
The Air. He Is Too Inflated Over Nothing. He Needs An Experience Similar
To The One That Ezekiel Had -- (Ezekiel 3:14-19). And He Must Do What
Ezekiel Did

Otherwise, through indifference, as to the plight of the masses,
the Negro, who thinks that he has escaped, will lose his own soul. It
will do all leaders good to read Hebrew 13:3, and the first Thirty-seven
Chapters of Ezekiel.

A race transformation itself through its own leaders and its
sensible 'common people.' A race rises on its own wings, or is held down
by its own weight. True leaders are never 'things apart from the people.'
They are the masses. They simply got to the front ahead of them. Their
only business at the front is to inspire to masses by hard work and noble
example and challenge them to 'Come on!' Dante stated a fact when he
said, 'Show the people the light and they will find the way!'

There must arise within the Negro race a leadership that is not
out hunting bargains for itself. A noble example is found in the men and
women of the Negro race, who, in the early days, laid down their lives for
the people. Their invaluable contributions have not been appraised by the
'latter-day leaders.' In many cases, their names would never be recorded,
among the unsung heroes of the world, but for the fact that white friends
have written them there.

'Lord, God of Hosts, Be with us yet.'

The Negro of today does not realize that, but, for these exhibits
A's, that certainly show the innate possibilities of members of their own
race, white people would not have been moved to make such princely
investments in lives and money, as they have made, for the establishment
of schools and for the on-going of the race.

12. The Negro Must Stop Forgetting His Friends. 'Remember.'

Read Deuteronomy 24:18. Deuteronomy rings the big bell of
gratitude. Why? Because an ingrate is an abomination in the sight of
God. God is constantly telling us that 'I the Lord thy God delivered
you' -- through human instrumentality's.

The American Negro has had and still has friends -- in the North
and in the South. These friends not only pray, speak, write, influence
others, but make unbelievable, unpublished sacrifices and contributions
for the advancement of the race -- for their brothers in bonds.

The noblest thing that the Negro can do is to so live and labor
that these benefactors will not have given in vain. The Negro must make
his heart warm with gratitude, his lips sweet with thanks and his heart
and mind resolute with purpose to justify the sacrifices and stand on his
feet and go forward-- 'God is no respect of persons. In every nation, he
that feareth him and worketh righteousness is' sure to win out. Get to
work! That's the answer to everything that hurts us. We talk too much
about nothing instead of redeeming the time by working.

-------------------------

R-E-M-E-M-B-E-R

In spite of race prejudice, America is brim full of
opportunities. Go after them!

And, this was written in the early 1900 's! The more things change the
more they stay the same.
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Old 27 February 2008, 05:23 PM
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I can't speak for this article, but I have a magazine from 1965 (Newsweek or Time) which has an article all about 'the negro' and 'negro opinons' and such.
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Old 27 February 2008, 06:24 PM
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"Segregate" "social integration" "intensive literacy" -- I believe those words were anachronous for ca 1900. They sound much more late 20th century civil rights terms. Most of the core ideas sound more in line with 1900, though.

If it was a completely modern penning, I would expect more of a modern spin on things, such as "If Negroes get their act together, they might even beat a woman to the White House."

I say that this might be an article that was written ca 1900 but embellished by a recent editor, maybe substituting archaic terms for more modern ones to aid understanding by modern readers.
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Old 27 February 2008, 07:33 PM
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To me it sounds like a list of modern stereotypes of Black people made to sound older. Were Black people really criticized for spending too much money on clothing and fun things or blaming all their problems on White people in the early 1900s? Because this reminded me of the things I hear racist White people bitch about around me before they realize I'm not going to agree.
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Old 27 February 2008, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candy from strangers View Post
To me it sounds like a list of modern stereotypes of Black people made to sound older. Were Black people really criticized for spending too much money on clothing and fun things or blaming all their problems on White people in the early 1900s? Because this reminded me of the things I hear racist White people bitch about around me before they realize I'm not going to agree.
That is exactly what it sounds like to me, too. However, I googled the name attributed to the piece and found this:

Quote:
In 1900, at the annual meeting of the National Baptist Convention in Virginia, Burroughs gave a speech, “How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping.” This oration gained her national recognition and served as a lightning rod for the formation of the largest Black women’s organization in the United States, the Woman’s Convention (WC), an auxiliary to the National Baptist Convention (NBC).
So, there was an actual person named Nannie Helen Burroughs who was an active and outspoken leader in 1900. However, neither this link, nor any of the other similar sites I looked at, made mention of the speech in the OP, only the speech listed in the link.

ETA: I don't mean this to sound bad, as if people are only interested in men's rights or women's rights rather than people's rights. But all the stuff I read while looking for the above link says that she was actively involved in women's issues - she formed the National Association of Colored Women and the National Training School for Women and Girls. The OP sounds too generic (for lack of a better word) to be hers.

Last edited by Elsie; 27 February 2008 at 08:38 PM.
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  #6  
Old 27 February 2008, 08:30 PM
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It appears to be by the author named in the OP: Nannie Helen Burroughs. This site lists it among her papers in the Library of Congress. It's under "Speeches and Writings", in box 46. No date is given, but early 1900's is possible since she lived from 1879-1961.
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Old 27 February 2008, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frozen Charlotte View Post
It appears to be by the author named in the OP: Nannie Helen Burroughs. This site lists it among her papers in the Library of Congress. It's under "Speeches and Writings", in box 46. No date is given, but early 1900's is possible since she lived from 1879-1961.
I see it lists the same title, but I still strongly some suspect things were at least added or changed, if not the entire list itself.
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Old 28 February 2008, 12:06 AM
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I have a copy of this. I wrote a paper about another aspect of Burroughs' life last semester. I got it Interlibrary Loan as a photocopy; others should be able to obtain it in the same way. It dates from around the 1930's, I would estimate; Burroughs became well known after becoming the Corresponding Secretary of the Woman's Convention of the National Baptist Convention in 1900 but didn't start putting things like this out until the 1930's. It is very much in keeping with Burroughs' general ideas, and from what I can tell, it is copied verbatim from the pamphlet. The booklet also includes "Twelve Things White People Must Stop Doing to the Negro."

Avril

ETA: You can also take a look at Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham's Righteous Discontent, which tells the story of the formation of the WC of the NBC, and includes a much-cited chapter on how women like Burroughs promoted the "politics of respectability" as a means of racial uplift. This would fall under this same general rubric.
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Old 28 February 2008, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
The booklet also includes "Twelve Things White People Must Stop Doing to the Negro."
So, what's in that list?
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Old 28 February 2008, 01:59 PM
Trixie Tang
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candy from strangers View Post
To me it sounds like a list of modern stereotypes of Black people made to sound older. Were Black people really criticized for spending too much money on clothing and fun things or blaming all their problems on White people in the early 1900s?
What makes you think irresponsible and racist behavior (regardless of race) is a new invention? Klu Klux Klan members have been blaming all of their problems on blacks, Jews and Catholics since the mid-late 1800's, and they certainly weren't the first. I think the average black man was more likely to blame all of his problems on the white man during the early 1900's. His idea of persecution was much more likely then than it is today.
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Old 28 February 2008, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Trixie Tang View Post
What makes you think irresponsible and racist behavior (regardless of race) is a new invention? Klu Klux Klan members have been blaming all of their problems on blacks, Jews and Catholics since the mid-late 1800's, and they certainly weren't the first. I think the average black man was more likely to blame all of his problems on the white man during the early 1900's. His idea of persecution was much more likely then than it is today.
Uh, I never said those were new things . I simply asked if those were things Black people were commonly criticized for back then. I mentioned that the list sounded like things I've heard White people nowadays bitch about Black people for.

I would think that a Black person saying White people in general were holding them back in those days would not be something other Black people would think of as whining and be more accurate considering White people were trying to keep the Black man down back then.

Quote:
The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in
show and in having what he calls 'a good time.' The Dr. Kelly Miller
said, 'Th e Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he needs.'
This part in particular makes me think of how some White coworkers at the clothing store I used to work at would bitch about Black people spending all their money on stereo systems, rims and clothing then not having enough money to pay rent (though I was never sure just how they knew the people they were talking about couldn't pay their rent ).
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Old 28 February 2008, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candy from strangers View Post
Uh, I never said those were new things . I simply asked if those were things Black people were commonly criticized for back then.
Maybe I'm just projecting onto you an idea that absolutely infuriates me. I'm sorry if I got it wrong.

The idea I'm speaking of is reverse racism, where an affluent and educated white person channels his or her white guilt into believing all minorities are humble patriots just trying to make their way through this crazy world.

As for your acquaintances wondering how they know whether or not black people they know can pay their rent, maybe they've spoken to quite a few who couldn't pay their rent, yet had new shoes and shiny rims. Don't think that happens? Of course it does. I see it around my neck of the woods all the time. Just like I see many white people who just bought a brand new pit bull puppy when their children were wearing rags. Black people are people. And they're just as capable of shitty things like irresponsibility, hatefulness, racism, and child abuse. Just like white people. And Arabians. And American Indians.

As for the idea that all black people are materialistic jerks who are hitching a ride from the white people, of course that's not true. And that's where racism comes in. But saying something like, "The parking lot outside the project is full of new cars." That's not racism. It's an observation. And one that was apt around here back when New Orleans had more projects. It's the same as questioning why everyone in the all-white trailer park has new Wii's.

But enough of my rant, already.
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Old 28 February 2008, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trixie Tang View Post
Maybe I'm just projecting onto you an idea that absolutely infuriates me. I'm sorry if I got it wrong.
No problem, confusion can happen when reading instead of hearing sometimes.

Quote:
The idea I'm speaking of is reverse racism, where an affluent and educated white person channels his or her white guilt into believing all minorities are humble patriots just trying to make their way through this crazy world.
Yes, that is annoying, but it's not just the affgluent and educated. I also worked with a girl who felt the need to say "I totally would have had sex with Tupac!" everytime a Black person was around, to show she was cool I guess. Finally one day another girl said "I get it, C, you're not racist!"


Quote:
As for your acquaintances wondering how they know whether or not black people they know can pay their rent, maybe they've spoken to quite a few who couldn't pay their rent, yet had new shoes and shiny rims.
In which case I would expect them to say "This person only cares about carrying a Dooney, while her kids don't even have shoes that fit" not "I'm so sick of seeing Black people (because you always have to whisper it, for some reason) carrying expensive bags and wearing all that jewelry when you know they can't afford it. They'll just keep having more babies so they can spend welfare checks on spinners." If it's an individual thing, you mention one person by name (though it still wouldn't be their business). Saying "Black people" is generalizing and I find as much annoyance in that as I do when someone says "All White people are rich" (don't I wish?)

Quote:
Don't think that happens? Of course it does. I see it around my neck of the woods all the time.
Actually yes, I do know that happens. I don't think that idea surprises anyone.


Quote:
Just like I see many white people who just bought a brand new pit bull puppy when their children were wearing rags. Black people are people. And they're just as capable of shitty things like irresponsibility, hatefulness, racism, and child abuse. Just like white people. And Arabians. And American Indians.
I am aware that being an ass is equal opportunity. I don't know if you think I'm one of the "reverse racists" you're talking about, but I didn't mean for my previous posts to come across as "Thank you dear Jesus for the wonderful Black people!" and I didn't think it did. I was just mentioning how the OP sounded to me, based on my own experiences with certain specific idiots.

Having White people talk sh*t about Black people is just one of my main pet peeves, as I live in an area with a large Black population, which annoys people who have problems with Black people, which makes them want to whine about it to someone. Since I seem about as White as a person can get, people whine about it to me, thinking I will agree, when actually I prefer not to hate whole groups, but to hate individuals, once I've been around them long enough to figure out what I hate them for.

Quote:
As for the idea that all black people are materialistic jerks who are hitching a ride from the white people, of course that's not true. And that's where racism comes in.
Right, which is exactly what I was mentioning.

Quote:
But saying something like, "The parking lot outside the project is full of new cars." That's not racism. It's an observation. And one that was apt around here back when New Orleans had more projects. It's the same as questioning why everyone in the all-white trailer park has new Wii's.

But enough of my rant, already.
Yes, those are observations. If someone chooses to voice those observations like "Those greedy enwords spent all that money on new cars when they can't afford it" or " Those greedy crackers spent all that money on video game systems when they can't afford it" I would be equally offended. But enough of my rant.
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Old 28 February 2008, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by candy from strangers View Post
Yes, that is annoying, but it's not just the affgluent and educated. I also worked with a girl who felt the need to say "I totally would have had sex with Tupac!" everytime a Black person was around, to show she was cool I guess. Finally one day another girl said "I get it, C, you're not racist!"
(shudder) Crap like that drives me up the wall.
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Old 28 February 2008, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Trixie Tang View Post
(shudder) Crap like that drives me up the wall.
I know! If you really have no problem with people they'll be able to tell. Overcompensating makes it seem like the person is trying to make up for the fact that they secretly harbor racist thoughts (lucky for them I don't have a green clarinet!)
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Old 28 February 2008, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie View Post
So, what's in that list?
Darn. I knew someone would make me type it.

It mostly has no commentary, just the bullet points. I took out the commentary partly because I think if I quoted too much I might be guilty of copyright infringement. Don't worry, I gave you elipses for that.

Quote:
1. STOP penalizing Negroes for not being white. Color is not character. It is only a badge of distinction.

2. STOP making social excursions into the Negro race, depositing white offspring and then crying out against social equality.

3. STOP fighting integration in public education in the daytime, and practicing social equality anytime they want to.

4. STOP teaching basic untruths about race.

5. STOP trying to disprove the biblical and scientific fact that "God hath made of one blood all races of men to dwell on the face of the earth".

...

6. STOP misinterpreting Genesis 9:19-27. The Bible does not say that God cursed Ham. It says that "Noah cursed his son, Ham". ...

7. STOP making unjust discriminatory laws, molding social sentiment against respect for human personality, building up customs, creating attitudes in an effort to prove that the Negro is inferior. In any race, only those are inferior who do inferior things.

8. STOP putting all kinds of varriers in the way of the progress of the Negro race, and then declaring that America's high purpose is to build "one nation indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE to ALL".

9. STOP making laws to protect legal and civil rights of all citizens and when the rights of the Negro are involved, allow white citizens to put themselves above the law and not only deny Negroes their legal rights but persecute and lynch them. Such acts express vicious race prejudice. Out of such acts and attitudes America can never build a Christian democracy.

10. STOP using Negroes as political mud sills and stepping stones, to get whites in power, politically, and then deny Negroes full citizenship rights and equal opportunities, through education and employment, to secure their own rightful place in the labor world and enjoy full citizenship rights, responsibilities, rewards and privileges.

11. STOP teaching race prejudice to children in order to perpretrate contempt for people who are not white and then make segregation a permanent institution in a democracy.

12. STOP calling this land "Christian" and the government thereof a democracy. The fact is brotherhood and fellowship are not the practice in many American churches. ...
Avril
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Old 28 February 2008, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Avril View Post
I have a copy of this. I wrote a paper about another aspect of Burroughs' life last semester. I got it Interlibrary Loan as a photocopy; others should be able to obtain it in the same way. It dates from around the 1930's, I would estimate; Burroughs became well known after becoming the Corresponding Secretary of the Woman's Convention of the National Baptist Convention in 1900 but didn't start putting things like this out until the 1930's. It is very much in keeping with Burroughs' general ideas, and from what I can tell, it is copied verbatim from the pamphlet. The booklet also includes "Twelve Things White People Must Stop Doing to the Negro."

Avril

ETA: You can also take a look at Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham's Righteous Discontent, which tells the story of the formation of the WC of the NBC, and includes a much-cited chapter on how women like Burroughs promoted the "politics of respectability" as a means of racial uplift. This would fall under this same general rubric.
I got distracted and forgot to respond to this before. I am very surprised, not only because of what I mentioned before, but I thought what was mentioned about the seeming modernness of the language sounded correct. Huh, goes to show what I know!
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  #18  
Old 28 February 2008, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Darn. I knew someone would make me type it.

It mostly has no commentary, just the bullet points. I took out the commentary partly because I think if I quoted too much I might be guilty of copyright infringement. Don't worry, I gave you elipses for that.



Avril
Thanks! Sorry to make you type, but you were the fool who mentioned you had a copy

Quote:
1. STOP penalizing Negroes for not being white. Color is not character. It is only a badge of distinction.

2. STOP making social excursions into the Negro race, depositing white offspring and then crying out against social equality.

3. STOP fighting integration in public education in the daytime, and practicing social equality anytime they want to.

4. STOP teaching basic untruths about race.

5. STOP trying to disprove the biblical and scientific fact that "God hath made of one blood all races of men to dwell on the face of the earth".

...

6. STOP misinterpreting Genesis 9:19-27. The Bible does not say that God cursed Ham. It says that "Noah cursed his son, Ham". ...

7. STOP making unjust discriminatory laws, molding social sentiment against respect for human personality, building up customs, creating attitudes in an effort to prove that the Negro is inferior. In any race, only those are inferior who do inferior things.

8. STOP putting all kinds of varriers in the way of the progress of the Negro race, and then declaring that America's high purpose is to build "one nation indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE to ALL".

9. STOP making laws to protect legal and civil rights of all citizens and when the rights of the Negro are involved, allow white citizens to put themselves above the law and not only deny Negroes their legal rights but persecute and lynch them. Such acts express vicious race prejudice. Out of such acts and attitudes America can never build a Christian democracy.

10. STOP using Negroes as political mud sills and stepping stones, to get whites in power, politically, and then deny Negroes full citizenship rights and equal opportunities, through education and employment, to secure their own rightful place in the labor world and enjoy full citizenship rights, responsibilities, rewards and privileges.

11. STOP teaching race prejudice to children in order to perpretrate contempt for people who are not white and then make segregation a permanent institution in a democracy.

12. STOP calling this land "Christian" and the government thereof a democracy. The fact is brotherhood and fellowship are not the practice in many American churches. ...
I've got no problems with any of these. Heck, I'd even be willing to sign an on-line petition supporting them!

OK, seriously, I think the governmental items (7, 8, 9, and maybe 10) have been fulfilled. I would like to think that most of the societal items (all the rest of them) are at least preferred in American society; we just need to get them to be practiced all the time. I like the two overtly religious items - 6 and 12. I am not a bible scholar (nor do I play one on TV); in fact, I never heard of the blacks being "cursed" as children of Ham until I was an adult; I would think that this would be a VERY QUICK rebuttle. Boy, talk about taking a bible verse out of context!

As for 12 - my inferance is "how can we expect our government to eschew racism when our churches don't?" Again, I'd like to think we've gotten better in the last 70 years.....
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Old 28 February 2008, 09:07 PM
dg61
 
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,
Quote:
What makes you think irresponsible and racist behavior (regardless of race) is a new invention? Klu Klux Klan members have been blaming all of their problems on blacks, Jews and Catholics since the mid-late 1800's
minor nitpick-The Klan's antisemitism started with the Klan's revival in the 1920s after the Leo Frank case. The Klan of 1866-1872 did'nt give a rat's ass about jews.
I do think the OP sounds like somthing a supporter of Brooker T. Washington. It might also have a bit more validity today(now that most of the great civil rights battles are won) then it did in the 1930s
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