« TrướcTiếp tục »
of preparation to fit him for the work of three. Even so, on you, young men of Negro America, descends the duty of the great preparation. Get education. Get it not only in school and in college, but in books and newspapers, in market-places, institutions, and movements. Prepare by knowing; and never think you know until you have listened to ten others who know differently-and have survived the shock.
The young man's second duty is IRREVERENCE. Reverence is in one sense, respect for what is antiquated because it is antiquated. This race has lived in a rut too long to reverence the rut. Oldsters love ruts because they help them to "rub along," they are easy to understand; they require the minimum of exertion and brains, and they give the maximum of case. Young man! If you wish to be spiritually alert and alive; to get the very best out of yourself-shun a rut as you would shun the plague! Never bow the knee to Baal because Baal is in power; never respect wrong and injustice because they are enshrined in "the sacred institutions of our glorious land"; never have patience with either Cowardice or Stupidity because they happen to wear venerable whiskers. Read, reason, and think on all sides of all subjects. Don't compare yourself with the runner behind you on the road: always compare yourself with the one ahead; so only will you go faster and farthe. And set it before you, as a sacred duty always to surpass the teachers that taught you -and this is the essence of irreverence.
The last great duty is COURAGE. Dear man of my people, if all else should fail you, never let that fail. Much as you need preparation and prevision you are more in need of Courage. This has been, and is yet, A DOWNTRODDEN RACE. Do you know what a downtrodden race needs most? If you are not sure, take
down your Bible and read the whole story of Gideon and his band. You will then understand that, as Dunbar says:
"Minorities since time began
Have shown the better side of man:
One Man has made a cause sublime."
You will learn the full force of what another American meant when he told the young men of his age:
"They are slaves who dare not choose
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think,
A people under the heels of oppression has more need of heroic souls than one for whom the world is bright. It was in Egypt and in the wilderness that Israel had need of Moses, Aaron and Joshua. No race situated like ours, has any place of leadership for those who lack courage, fortitude, heroism. You may have to turn your eyes away from the fleshpots of Egypt; you may be called on to fight with wild beasts at Ephesus; you may have to face starvation in the wilderness or crucifixion on Calvary. Have the courage to do that which the occasion demands when it comes. And I make you no promise that "in the end you will win a glorious crown." You may fail, fall and be forgotten. What of it? When you think of our heroic dead on Messines Ridge, along the Aisne and at
Chateau Thierry-how does your heart act? It thrills! It thrills because
"Manhood hath a larger span
And wider privilege of life than Man."
and you, young Negro Men of America, you are striving to give the gift of manhood to this race of ours.
The future belongs to the young men.-January, 1919.
OUR INTERNATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS.
The ideas expressed in the title of this chapter were formulated as early as 1915 when I was in the unique position of being the black leader and lecturer of a white lecture forum, organized by white liberals, radicals and others at the old Lenox Casino, at 16th St. & Lenox Ave,, New York City. What white people in general thought of the value of my services at this forum can be read in a letter written by a white southerner and appearing in the New York Globe of December 15, 1920. After the closing of this lecture forum the same explanation of the racial significance of the whole process of the war was expressed in other lectures given to white people at a lecture forum which I maintained in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. I make these explanations here because I value somewhat the point of priority in the face of Mr. Lothrop Stoddard's remarkable book, "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy" and the sweeping tide of racial consciousness which found expression subsequently in those Negro newspapers and magazines which have been called radical.]
The White War and the Colored World.
The newspapers which we read every day inform us that the world is at war. Searching the pages of the statisticians, we find that the world is made up of 17 hundred million people of which 12 hundred million are colored-black and brown and yellow. This vast majority is at peace and remains at peace until the white monority determines otherwise. The war in Europe is a war of the white race wherein the stakes of conflict are the titles to
possession of the lands and destinies of this colored majority in Asia, Africa and the islands of the sea.
There can be no doubt that the white race as it exists today, is the superior race of the world. And it is superior, not because it has better manners more religion or a higher culture; these things are metaphysical and subject to dispute. The white race rests its claim to superiority on the frankly materialistic ground that it has the gums, soldiers, the money and resources to keep it in the position of the top-dog and to make its will go. This is what white men mean by civilization, disguise it how they may. This struggle is a conflict of wills and interests among the various nations which make up the white race, to determine whose will shall be accepted as the collective will of the white race; to decide, at least for this century, who shall be the inheritors of the lands of Africa and Asia and dictators of the lives and destinies of their colored inhabitants.
The peculiar feature of the conflict is that the white race in its fratricidal strife is burning up, eating up, consuming and destroying these very resources of ships, guns, men and money upon which its superiority is built. They are bent upon this form of self-destruction and nothing that we can say will stop them.
As representatives of one of the races constituting the colored majority of the world, we deplore the agony and blood-shed; but we find consolation in the hope that when this white world shall have been washed clean by its baptism of blood, the white race will be less able to thrust the strong hand of its sovereign will down the throats of the other races. We look for a free India and an independent Egypt; for nationalities in Africa flying their own flags and dictating their own internal and foreign policies. This is what we understand by "making