Thursday, July 11, 2019

Quote of the Day (Frederick Douglass, on Offering ‘A Liberal and Brotherly Welcome to All’)

“I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races; but I want the Asiatic to find a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours. Right wrongs no man. If respect is had to majorities, the fact that only one fifth of the population of the globe is white, the other four fifths are colored, ought to have some weight and influence in disposing of this and similar questions. It would be a sad reflection upon the laws of nature and upon the idea of justice, to say nothing of a common Creator, if four fifths of mankind were deprived of the rights of migration to make room for the one fifth. If the white race may exclude all other races from this continent, it may rightfully do the same in respect to all other lands, islands, capes and continents, and thus have all the world to itself. Thus what would seem to belong to the whole, would become the property only of a part. So much for what is right, now let us see what is wise.

“And here I hold that a liberal and brotherly welcome to all who are likely to come to the United States, is the only wise policy which this nation can adopt.”—African-American escaped slave, abolitionist, orator, and editor Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), “The Composite Nation,” delivered in Boston, Mass., December 7, 1869, in The Frederick Douglass Papers, Series One: Speeches, Debates and Interviews, Vol. 4, 1864-1880, ed. John W. Blassingame and John R. McKivigan (1991)

In the last week or so, I’ve had a number of Facebook friends share on our newsfeed a Fox News link about how Sen. Ted Cruz had “schooled” Colin Kaepernick over the true meaning of a Frederick Douglass Fourth of July oration that the former NFL quarterback had quoted from. 

I suppose we should be grateful to Fox and Cruz for linking to that great speech and bringing it to more people’s attention.

I just wish the Trump Media Mouthpiece and the sniveling Senator from Texas, while they were at it, could have linked to another Douglass speech—the one that I have quoted from and linked to here in this post. It demonstrates a sense of history, a logic and a compassion that have gone sadly missing in the Trump administration’s immigration policy.

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