Monday, June 29, 2009
Kelly Miller Mondays
This is the first Kelly Miller Monday. Kelly Miller was a journalist, writer, mathematician, dean of Howard's College of Arts and Sciences, co-editor of The Crisis.
And he laid down some common sense that, perhaps, our wingnut friends and the T-Pain crowd alike, should heed. Every Monday for the rest of the summer, Kelly's gonna lay down some knowledge. Pay attention, and derive what you can for 2009.
Letter to Thomas Dixon, Jr. 1902
To Thomas Dixon, Jr.
…[F] or Southern White men to berate the Negro for failing to gain [as of barely 40 years after slavery and the midst of Jim Crow and terror in the South, de facto segregation and neglect and abuse in the North] the highest rounds of distinction reaches the climax of cruel inconsistency. One is reminded of the barbarous Teutons in Titus Andronicus, who after cutting out the tongue and hacking off the hands of the lovely Lavinia, ghoulishly chided her for not calling for sweet water with which to wash her delicate hands…
(referencing Tom Watson) “The advance made by your race in America is the reflection of the white man’s civilization. Just that and nothing more. The Negro lives in the light of the white man’s civilization and reflects a part of that light.”
Here again we come across the threadbare argument of advocates of suppression and subordination of the Negro. The aptitude of any people for progress is tested by the readiness with which they absorb and assimilate the environment of which they form a part…Civilization is not a spontaneous generation with any race or nation known to history, but the torch is handed from race to race , and from age to age, and gains brilliancy as it goes. The progress made by the Negro has been natural and inevitable . Does Mr. Watson expect the American Negro to invent the alphabet before he learns to read? The Negro has advanced in exactly the same fashion that the white race advances, by taking advantage of all that has gone before. Other men have labored and we all have entered into their labors. The Japanese did not invent the battleship, modern artillery, or the modern manual of arms, but they use them pretty effectively [noting Japan’s burgeoning conflict with Tsarist Russia and it’s conquests in Korea]...