Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Slavery and race

As Black History Month draws to a close, I thought a quote from one of the all-time greats would be in order:

"I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race.  No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. ...the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.

This is so to such an extend that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland.  This I say, not to justify slavery... but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.  When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us."
-- from the opening chapter of Booker T. Washington's "Up from Slavery" (1901)

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