The Future of the Colored Race in America by William Aikman

Updated: Jan 9, 2019


Am I Not a Man and a Brother?

There may be, as there has been, through the tremendous power of a vast prejudice, a thousand endeavours to avoid the issue, but events will sooner or later compel every man, whether he will or not, to look it in the face. We say prejudice, for in this thing, as in all history has been the case, a name has become a well nigh boundless power. The interest of slavery has for a long course of years, and by a persistent endeavor, created a term of terrible significance, and has wielded it with prodigious force,—we mean the word “Abolitionist.” History has known before a term made a watch-word and changing a dynasty, hut never was a word brandished with such effect upon a nation’s well-being as this. Time was when South as well as North, to be “an abolitionist,” a “member of the Abolition Society,” was not only no strange thing, but a position held by the foremost men, and without a thought that they were amenable to even the slightest censure of their associates.


Jefferson and Pinckney, as well as Jay and Adams, were abolitionists in name, as well as in fact. Dela- ware, and Maryland, and Virginia had their Abolition Socie- ties, and the best and greatest men were members of them. But in the course of years Slavery changed all that. The oli- garchy awakened to the danger which threatened it, and at first gradually, and then by more and more open effort, these socie- ties were assailed or suppressed, till they with the death of the great men who founded them, passed out of existence, no one perhaps knowing precisely how. Then began the storm of abuse and anathematizing directed against all who dared to hold, or at least utter sentiments opposed to slavery. “Abolition” and “abolitionist” 'was echoed and howled till men be- came pale at the bare sound, and considered it the last and most dreaded terror to be called by the hated name.


*An excerpt from an article in The Presbyterian Quarterly Review.