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thing which, for want of a better word, we call simply “charm"—the Negro women are far ahead of all others in America. They have more native grace, more winsomeness, greater beauty and more fire and passion. These facts have already begun to attract ttention, here and elsewhere, and, eventually, the Negro woman will come into her own.
What say you, brothers! Shall we not love her while she is among us? Shall we not bend the knee in worship and thank high heaven for the great good fortune which has given us such sisters and sweethearts, mothers and wives?
To the Young Men of My Race. The Negro is already at work on the problems of reconstruction. He finds himself in the midst of a world which is changing to its very foundations. Yet millions of Negroes haven't now—and have never had—the slightest knowledge or idea of what those foundations are. How can they render effective aid to the world without understanding something of how the world, or society, is arranged, how it runs, and how it is run?
No one, friendly or unfriendly, can deny that the Negroes of America do wish to help in constructing this world of men and things which will emerge from the Great War. They want to help, because they realize that their standing and welfare and happiness in that world will very largely depend upon what kind of world it is. They have not been happy, so far, in America-nor, so far as the white man's rule is concerned,-anywhere else under it. And they want to be happy, if that be possible. For which reason they want to help in the re-shaping of the world-to-be.
They feel the burdens put on them by the White Lords of subjection and repression, of 39 cents worth of education a year in Alabama, of the deep race hatred of the Christian Church, the Y. M. C. A. and the Associated Press; of lynching in the land of "liberty,” disfranchisement in "democratic" America and segregation on the Federal trains and in the Federal departments. They feel that the world should be set free from this machinery of mischief-for their sakes as well as that of the world.
Such is the state of mind of the Negro masses here. And now what does this attitude of the Negro masses require? GUIDANCE! Guidance, shaping and direction. Here is strength, here is power, here is a task to call forth the sublimest heroism on the part of those who should lead them. And what do we find? No guidance, no shaping of the course for these millions. The blind may not safely lead the blind in these critical times and blind men are practically all that we have as leaders.
The old men whose minds are always retrospecting and reminiscing to the past, who were "trained" to read a few dry and dead books which they still fondly believe are hard to get—these do not know anything of the modern world, its power of change and travel, and the mighty range of its ideas. Its labor problems and their relation to wars and alliances and diplomacy are not even suspected by these quaint fossils. They think that they are "leading" Negro thought, but they could serve us better if they were cradelled in cotton-wool, wrapped in faded roses, and laid aside in lavender as mementoes of a dead past.
The young men must gird up their loins for the task of leadership and leadership has its stern and necessary duties. The first of these is TRAINING. Not in a night did the call come to Christ, not in a day was He made fit to make the great sacrifice. It took thirty years
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 ease. 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 farther. 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
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
“Minorities since time began
Have shown the better side of man;
You will learn the full force of what another American méant when he told the young men of his age :
“They are slaves who dare not choose
Hatred, scoffing and abuse,
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