E. HANDY TELLS NEGROES THEY DISGRACE RACE
DENOUNCES VOTE SELLERS AND VOTE BUYERS IN OPEN LETTER.
HOW TO UPLIFT RACE
Declares Recognition Is Not Due Until It Is Earned – Must Stop Selling Votes and Set Better Example for Children to Do Away With Prejudice in Future.
Emanuel Handy, one of the most prominent negroes of Atchison, deplores the weaknesses of his race in a scathing denunciation of the manner in which the negroes in Atchison exercise the right of franchise. In a letter to The Champion he asks what right the negro has for recognition in politics as long as he is willing to sell his vote for a bottle of beer and a few cigars, and incidentally hits the white vote-buyer hard.
The letter follows:
Editor of The Champion: The action of the negro has been so tremendous that I can only indicate it in a general way: that the negroes in Atchison have disgraced the name of civilization.
It has been charged by the white man that the negro is burdened with a citizenship that he is not capable of maintaining; that their politicians are rotten, and that their politics exist only in circumstances which disgrace the United States.
If the negroes of Atchison should ever expect to be recognized it is time that their folly should cease.
So much for the negro hypocrisy, as selling their votes for all the beer or cigars they can get to last them three or four days.
I have talked with the white people a great deal about not putting more colored men on the jury and here is the argument: The white people can’t trust the colored man because he will sell out for a bottle of beer or a cigar; he will sell out his vote for all that he can get to drink for two or three days.
The children of today will be the men and women of tomorrow, and oh, how careful should parents be in trying to prepare their children for the battle of life, which is chance. They must be the fathers, the mothers, the teachers a generation hence. What kind of men and women, what kind of parents and teachers will they make? That depends upon what the men and women of today are doing toward teaching the children which God has given unto them.
Can any race on earth expect to be recognized with such a brand of character as that, knowing, as I do, that it is true of some of our people. The very men that told me are the very men that have been buying negro votes for 15 years, to my knowledge. What could I say? Nothing, because I know it to be the truth.
Parents should think about the future welfare of their children after they themselves are dead. For, as our children are today so will our race be a generation hence. They are the great factors which will determine the destiny of the negro race. The character and destiny of a race is the fruit of the seed sown by a former generation. Character, conduct, success or failure is sown by a generation and the succeeding generation reaps the reward. No generation in the history of the world escapes the decree of this law of cause and effect. It has always been so; it is a law of nature, a law which is inseparable and controls all growth and decline, all human success and failure.
What, then, will make our children of today obedient to the law will make our race law-abiding a generation hence. If we strive to make them liberty-loving citizens and lovers of morality, there will be no baffling negro problems for the coming generation, for these children of ours will be above all evil forces in America which are fighting against the race, and will win for their children a secure place in the battle of life. It will be a dike against the encroaching waters of prejudice, because they will be fit – because they will be strong. But we can’t expect these things ever to come if we go on selling our votes for beer and cigars, as the white man says we are doing today.
In making these allegations I want to say of the white man who buys the vote. He is stooping to conquer, and is no better than the one who sells. He is the aggressor, and, in my estimation, is not as good as the negro who sells.