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(1890) T. Thomas Fortune, “It Is Time To Call A Halt,”


(1890) T. Thomas Fortune, “It Is Time To Call A Halt,”

Attucks, the black patriot he was no coward! Toussaint LOverture-he was no coward! Nat Turner-he was no coward! And the two hundred thousand black soldiers of the last war they were no cowards! If we have a work to do, let us do it. And if there come violence, let those who oppose our just cause throw the first stone. We have wealth, we have intelligence, we have courage; and we have a great work to do. We should therefore take hold of it like men, not counting our time and means and lives of any consequence further than they contribute to the grand purposes which call us to the work. And now, ladies and gentlemen, in concluding the pleasant task set before me here by your kindness, I would reduce the whole matter, so far as this league is concerned to the following proposition: A large portion of our fellow citizens have determined that the material, civil and political rights conferred upon Afro Americans by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Federal Constitution shall not be enjoyed by the beneficiaries of them. To all practical intents and purposes these rights have been denied and are withheld, and especially so in the Southern States. That the majority shall not rule; that the laborer shall be robbed of his wages without redress at law; that the citizen shall enjoy no common and civil rights a brute would not scorn; that the principle[s] of taxation and representation are inseparably correlated is without force is fact, as regards Afro Americans here is the work before us. As the agitation which culminated in the abolition of African slavery in this country covered a period of fifty years, so may we expect that before the rights conferred upon us by the war amendments are fully conceded, a full century will have passed away. We have undertaken no childs play. We have undertaken a serious work which will tax and exhaust the best intelligence and energy of the race for the next century. Are we equal to the task imposed upon us? If we are

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