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and Thomas Fortune Ryan of New York joined hands to exploit the wealth of the Congo they did it with oiled phrases on their lips. They called that land of horrors and of shame "The Congo FREE State!"
And, so, when Nations go to war, they never openly declare what they WANT. They must camouflage their sordid greed behind some sounding phrase like "freedom of the seas," "self-determination," "liberty" or "democracy." But only the ignorant millions ever think that those are the real objects of their bloody rivalries. When the war is over, the mask is dropped, and then they seek "how best to scramble at the shearers' feast." It is then that they disclose their real war aims.
One of the most striking cases in point is the present peace congress. Already President Wilson has had to go to look after democracy himself. Already responsible heads of the Allied governments are making it known that "freedom of the seas" means a benevolent naval despotism maintained by them, and that “democracy” means simply the transfer of Germany's African lands to England and the others. Africa at the peace table constitutes the real stakes which the winners will rake in. We may read in headlines the startling item "Negroes Ask For German Colonies,” but Negroes of sense should not be deluded. They will not get them because they have no battleships, no guns, no force, military or financial. They are not a Power.
Despite the pious piffle of nice old gentlemen like Professor Kelly Miller, the King-word of modern nations is POWER. It is only Sunday school "kids" and people of child-races who take seriously such fables as that in the "Band of Hope Review" when we were children that "the secret of England's greatness is the Bible." The secret of England's greatness (as well as of any other
great nation's) is not bibles but bayonets- bayonets, business and brains. As long as the white nations have a preponderance of these, so long will they rule. Ask Japan: she knows. And as long as the lands of Africa can yield billions of business, so long will white brains use bayonets to keep them--as the British government did last year in Nigeria.
Africa is turning over in her sleep, and this agitation now going on among American Negroes for the liberation of Africa is a healthy sign of her restlessness. But it is no more than that. Africa's hands are tied, and, so tied, she will be thrown upon the peace table. Let us study how to unloose her bonds later. Instead of futile expectations from the doubtful generosity of white land-grabbers, let us American Negroes go to Africa, live among the natives and LEARN WHAT THEY HAVE TO TEACH US (for they have much to teach us). Let us go there--not in the coastlands,--but in the interior, in Nigeria and Nyassaland; let us study engineering and physics, chemistry and commerce, agriculture and industry; let us learn more of nitrates, of copper, rubber and electricity; so will we know why Belgium, France, England and Germany want to be in Africa. Let us begin by studying the scientific works of the African explorers and stop reading and believing the silly slush which ignorant missionaries put into our heads about the alleged degradation of our people in Africa. Let us learn to know Africa and Africans so well that every educated Negro will be able at a glance to put his hand on the map of Africa and tell where to find the Jolofs, Ekois, Mandingoes, Yorubas, Bechuanas or Basutos and can tell something of their marriage customs, their property laws, their agriculture and systems of worship. For, not until
we can do this will it be seemly for us to pretend to be anxious about their political welfare.
Indeed, it would be well now for us to establish friendly relations and correspondence with our brothers at home. For we don't know enough about them to be able to do them any good at THIS peace congress (even if we were graciously granted seats there); but fifty years from now -WHO KNOWS?
"They Shall Not Pass!"
When heroic France was holding the Kaiser's legions. at bay her inflexible resolution found expression in the phrase, “Ils ne passeront pas !"--they shall not pass! The white statesmen who run our government in Washington seem to have adopted the poilu's watchword in a less worthy cause. The seventy-odd Negro "delegates" to the Peace Congress who have got themselves "elected" at mass-meetings and concerts for the purpose of going to France are not going--unless they can walk, swim, or fly. For the government will not issue passports for them.
Of course, the government is not telling them so in plain English. That wouldn't be like our government. It merely makes them wait while their money melts away. Day after day and week after week, they wearily wend their way to the official Circumlocution Office where they receive a reply considered sufficient for their child-minds : "Not yet."
It is many weeks since Madam Walker, Mr. Trotter, Judge Harrison and other lesser lights were elected, but "They shall not pass!" says the government with the backing of Emmett Scott. THE VOICE holds no brief for these people: in fact it has taken the trouble to tellthem more than once how silly their project was. But it
is not out of order to inquire why the government will not let them go, and to find an answer to that question.
The government will not let them go to France, because the government's conscience is not clear. And the gov ernment ordered that ludicrous lackey, Mr. R. R. Moton, to go for the same reason. In fact, the creation of sinecures for Mr. Scott and the other barnacles is due largely to an uneasy conscience, How would it look to have Negroes telling all Europe that the land which is to make the world "safe for democracy" is rotten with race-prejudice: Jini-crows Negro officers on ships coming over from France and on trains run under government control; condones lynching by silent acquiescence and refuses to let its Negro heroes vote as citizens in that part of the country in which nine-tenths of them live. This wouldn't do at all.
Therefore: They shall not pass! And if, finally, the government, nettled by such criticisms, should lift the ban when the Peace Congress is practically over, the Negroes of America may be sure that those permitted to go will be carefully hand-picked.
But what is the matter with America as a land for pioneer work in planting democracy? Are these Negro emigrés afraid to face the white men here in the Republican Party or any other and raise Hades until the Constitution is enforced? Is cowardice the real reason for their running to France to uncork their mouths? It looks very much like it. Ladies and gentlemen: don't run. The fight is here, and here you will be compelled to face it, or report to us the reason why.
A Cure for the Ku-Klux
It was in the city of Pulaski in Giles County, Tennessee, that the original Ku-Klux Klan was organized
in the latter part of 1865. The war had hardly been declared officially at an end when the cowardly "crackers" who couldn't lick the Yankees began organizing to take it out of the Negroes. They passed laws declaring that any black man who couldn't show three hundred dollars should be declared a vagrant; that every vagrant should be put to work in the chain-gang on the public works of their cities; that three Negroes should not gather together unless a white man was with them, and other such methods were used as were found necessary to maintain "white supremacy." When the national Congress met in December, 1865, it looked upon these light diversions with an unfriendly eye and, noting that nothing short of the re-enslavement of the Negroes would satisfy the "crackers," it kept them out of Congress until they would agree to do better. Finding that they were stiffnecked, Congress passed the 14th and 15th amendments and put the "cracker" states under military rule until they accepted the amendments. The result was that the Negro got the ballot as a protection from "the people who know him best."
In the meanwhile, the Ku-Klux after rampaging around under the leadership of that traitor, General Nathaniel B. Forrest, was put down-for good, as it was thought. Today, after the Negro has been stripped of the ballot's protection by the connivance of white Republicans in Washington and white Democrats at the South, the Ku-Klux dares to raise its ugly head in its ancestral state of Tennessee. This time they want to increase that fine brand of democracy which every coward editor knows that Negroes were getting when they were bidding them to be patriotic. The Ku-Klux means to shoot them into submission and torture them into terror before they get