Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas. Page: 261 of 1,110
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HISTOR Y OF DALLAS COUNTY.
some strange foliage. As no race has ever
lived in such unresisting bondage, none was
ever hurried with such swiftness through
freedom into power. Into hands still trembling
from the blow that broke the shackles
was thrust the ballot. In less than twelve
months from the time he walked down the
furrow a slave, the negro dictated, in legislative
halls from which Davis and Calhoun
had gone forth, the policy of twelve commonwealths.
When his late master protested
against his misrule, the Federal drumbeat
rolled around his strongholds, and from
a hedge of Federal bayonets he grinned in
good-natured insolence, From the proven
incapacity of that day has he far advanced?
Simple, credulous, impulsive; easily led and
too often easily bought,-is he a safer, more
intelligent citizen now than then ? Is this mass
of votes, loosed from old restraints; inviting
alliance or awaiting opportunity, less menacing
than when its purpose was plain and its
way was direct?
My countrymen, right here the South must
make a decision on which very much depends.
Many wise men hold that the white vote of
the South should divide, the color line be
beaten down, and the Southern States ranged
on economic or moral questions as interest
or belief demands. I am compelled to dissent
from this view. The worst thing, in my
opinion, that could happen is, that the white
people of the South should stand in opposing
factions, with the vast mass of ignorant or
purchasable negro votes between. Consider
such a status. If the negroes were skilfully
led it would give them the balance of power
-a thing not to be considered. If their vote
was not compacted, it would invite the debauching
bid of factions, and drift surely to
that which was most corrupt and cunning.
With the shiftless habit and irresolution of
slavery days still possessing him, the negro
vocer will not in this generation, adrift from
war issues, become a steadfast partisan
through conscience or conviction. In every
community there are colored men who redeem
their race from this reproach, and who vote
under reason. Perhaps in time the bulk of
this race may thus adjust itself. But, through
what long and monstrous periods of political
debauchery this status would be reached, no
tongue can tell.
The clear and unmistakable domination of
the white race-dominating not through
violence, not through purchased alliance, but
through the integrity of its own vote and the
largeness of its sympathy and justice through
which it shall win the support of the better
classes of the colored race-that is the hope
and assurance of the South. Otllerwise the
negro would be bandied from one faction to
another. His credulity would be played
upon, his cupidity tempted, his impulses misdirected,
his passions inflamed. lie would
be forever in alliance with that faction which
was the most desperate and unscrupulous.
Such a state would be worse than reconstruction,
for then intelligence was banded, and
its speedy triumph assured. But with intelligence
and property divided-bidding and
overbidding for place and patronage-irritation
increasing with each conflict-the bitterness
of desperation seizing every heart,
political debauchery deepening as each faction
staked its all in the miserable game,
there would be no end to this, until our
suffrage was hopelessly sullied, our people
forever divided, and our most sacred rights
One thing further should be said in perfect
frankness. Up to this point we have
dealt with ignorance and corruption; but
beyond this point a deeper issue confronts
Here’s what’s next.
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Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas., book, 1892; Chicago, Illinois. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/m1/261/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Public Library.