The English Speak.
LONDON, England — At last writing I was in Bristol. Here I found photographs of Dr. Price, and met many persons who had most pleasant recollections of his visit twelve years ago. Mine host Mr. Fox, was a [patient] admirer of his and was very grieved when I told him the doctor was dead. From Bristol, I went to Newcastle papers. This is the home of Miss Ellen Richardson, the lady who bought the freedom of Hon. Frederick Douglass, and Dr. Wm. Wells Brown nearly fifty years ago, when they were fugitive slaves in this country. She is very old and feeble and rarely sees visitors, but she granted me an interview, which lasted near two hours. She talked nearly the whole time about Mr. Douglass and how proud she was of him and his achievements.
From Newcastle, I came to London to be present at the meeting of the National Baptist union before which a resolution was introduced to condemn lynching. This is one of the largest unions in the kingdom, and after much work the resolution was placed on the agenda. There was no opportunity or necessity for me to speak. Mr. Aked delivered a speech, which far excelled anything I could have done and was the best speech I ever heard a white man deliver in the Negro's behalf. No Negro could have spoken for himself or the race better than Mr. Aked spoke for us. The account in the London Daily Chronicle, May 20, gives the synopsis of his address:
"The Rev. C. F. Aked (Liverpool) moved: That this union, having learned with grief and horror of the wrongs done to the colored people of the southern states of America by lawless, mobs, expresses the opinion that the perpetuation of such outrages, unchecked by the civil power, most necessarily reflect upon the administration of justice in the United States and upon the honor of its people. It therefore, calls upon all jovers of justice of freedom, and of brotherhoods in the churches of the United States to demand for every citizen of the public accused of crime, a proper trial in the courts of the law. He said that the scandal he referred to had no parallel in the history of the world, and it was their duty as Christians to do their best to print a stop to it. In the southern states of America there are [??,000] Negro teachers in elementary schools, 500 Negro preachers trained in the theological institutes of the people themselves, and 2,500 Negro preachers who had not received college training. The colored race had also produced 300 lawyers, 400 doctors, 200 newspapers, and they possessed property value at 50,000,000 sterling. Yet these people are being whipped, scourged, hanged, flayed and rousted at the stake. There had been 1,000, lynchings within the last ten years, and the average now was from 150 to 200 every year. Some of these murders were foul beyond expression and such as to appall and disgrace humanity. Most of the lynchings were alleged to be from assaults upon women, but only a small proportion of cases were really of that kind. The mobs who lynched these poor people were generally drunk and half insane and always bestial. The church must not keep silent while the press spoke out, and he was glad to see that the Daily Chronicle, who was doing splendid service in the cause of humanity (cheers), called attention to the subject that morning, and told them to give a moral nudge to their American brethren. It was the duties of great nations to shame each other, and if they could do any good he should be pleased. He appealed to them to prove by their action the solidarity of the human race and the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God, and thus to further the interest of the kingdom of Heaven." (Cheers)
The resolution was seconded by Dr. John Clifford, the great London preacher, who since Spurgeons death, is called the greatest of living Baptists, and carried with acclamation. The great Baptist denomination of England has thus put itself on record against lynching; perhaps the National Baptists of America will follow the example thus set. At their national meeting in Philadelphia, June, 1892, the committee refused to bring such a resolution before the body on the ground that there were too many southern to offend them.
There was a colored man present at Bloomsbury chapel when the above resolution was passed the other day and I heard he wished to speak to the resolution. He said he was a journalist, but I didn't learn his name. Dr. Clifford told me next day that he sent up a card to the chairman asking permission to speak; that he wished to show that the outrages were not as had been pictured! A speech like that from a Negro would have destroyed all that Dr. Clifford, Mr. Aked and I had done to overcome the scruples of the committee to permit the resolution to go on the agenda! I don't know where this Negro came from, nor could I learn his name, but I was speechless with rage. One is in a measure prepared to have white people, especially Americans, doubt and deny; but to have a Negro who can do absolutely nothing to put a stop to these outrages, doing what he can to stop others, is monstrous! No wonder such little headway is made in our demand for justice, when the race against them but must needs be cursed with such spawn calling themselves men. There are a few such in the United States who cringe and bow before the white man and call black white at his dictation. These Negroes, who run when white men tell them to do so, and stand up and let the white man knock them down or killing them if it suits his pleasure, are the ones who see no good in "fire-eating speeches." Such Negroes do nothing themselves to stop, lynching, are too cowardly to do so, and too anxious to preserve a whole skin if they could, but never fail to raise their voices in deprecation of others who are trying to do whatever can be done to stop the infamy of killing Negroes at the rate of one a day.
I can never forget to my dying day that when I gave the world the true facts about lynching and the foul charge against the men of my race, it was three Negro men of Memphis who raised a protest. Not that what I said was not true, but that "it would do no good" to tell such things. The white men of Memphis and other towns could not gainsay my facts and have not done so to this day, but these Negro men, wishing to gain favor in the eyes of Mr. White Man, hastened to put a letter in the white man's paper condemning the exposure of the southern white man's methods. Thank God, the breed of this stamp of cowards is a small one, and it is not right to blame the whole race for the expressions of those who earn the contempt of the white men they would serve and the far-sighted men and women of our own race.
The warm, helpful, inspiring, grateful letters I receive from the Atlantic to the Pacific, make me feel that the bulk of my people so far from "laying a straw in my path," know that my labors are for them, and they assure me of their prayers and support. While this holds true, the barking of a few curs cannot make me lose heart or hope. — Ida B. Wells. In N.Y. Age.