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W. E. B. Du Bois. Afterword by Robert Gregg

They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it. Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and today you reap the fruits of their success.


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The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost. From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost.

Cling to this day — cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight. The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.

The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime. The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline.

From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed. Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration.

They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect.

He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests. They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. You may well cherish the memory of such men.

They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times. How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense.

Mark them! Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do.

You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, un folded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words.

They form the staple of your national poetry and eloquence. I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait — perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans and can be had cheap! I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine! My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and His cause is the ever-living now. Trust no future, however pleasant, Let the dead past bury its dead; Act, act in the living present, Heart within, and God overhead. We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future.

To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence.

Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country today? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchers of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today?


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What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful.

Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? I am not that man. But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.

The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.

Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people! By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery.

Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America!

Would you argue more, and denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed. What point in the anti slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They ac knowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man no matter how ignorant he be , subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment.

What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may con sent to argue the manhood of the slave.

When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty?

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You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood?

How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him. What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters?

Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply. What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. We earnestly believe that [it] will mean as much if not more to us as the A. Earl Hutchinson Sr. According to the civil rights leader Julian Bond , recalling his parents' use of the Green Book , "it was a guidebook that told you not where the best places were to eat, but where there was any place. You think about the things that most travelers take for granted, or most people today take for granted. If I go to New York City and want a hair cut, it's pretty easy for me to find a place where that can happen, but it wasn't easy then.

White barbers would not cut black peoples' hair. White beauty parlors would not take black women as customers — hotels and so on, down the line. You needed the Green Book to tell you where you can go without having doors slammed in your face. While the Green Book was intended to make life easier for those living under Jim Crow, its publisher looked forward to a time when such guidebooks would no longer be necessary.

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As Green wrote, "there will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go as we please, and without embarrassment. Los Angeles is now considering offering special protection to the sites that kept black travelers safe. Ken Bernstein, principal planner for the city's Office of Historic Resources notes, "At the very least, these sites can be incorporated into our city's online inventory system.

The Green Book was published locally in New York, but its popularity was such that from it was distributed nationally with input from Charles McDowell, a collaborator on Negro affairs for the U. Travel Bureau, a government agency. Its scope expanded greatly during its years of publication; from covering only the New York City area in the first edition, it eventually covered facilities in most of the United States and parts of Canada primarily Montreal , Mexico, and Bermuda. Coverage was good in the eastern United States and weak in Great Plains states such as North Dakota , where there were few black residents.

He also established a vacation reservation service in to take advantage of the post-war boom in automobile travel. The Green Book recommended that black-owned businesses raise their standards, as travelers were "no longer content to pay top prices for inferior accommodations and services". The quality of black-owned lodgings was coming under scrutiny, as many prosperous blacks found them to be second-rate compared to the white-owned lodgings from which they were excluded.

Although segregation was still in force, by state laws in the South and often by practice elsewhere, the wide circulation of the Green Book had attracted growing interest from white businesses that wanted to tap into the potential sales of the black market. The edition noted:. A few years after its publication By the start of the s, the Green Book ' s market was beginning to erode. Even before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of , African-American civil rights activism was having the effect of lessening racial segregation in public facilities.

An increasing number of middle-class African Americans were beginning to question whether guides such as the Green Book were accommodating Jim Crow by steering black travelers to segregated businesses rather than encouraging them to push for equal access. Black-owned motels in remote locations off state highways lost customers to a new generation of integrated interstate motels located near freeway exits. The Green Book acknowledged that the activism of the civil rights movement had "widened the areas of public accommodations accessible to all," but it defended the continued listing of black-friendly businesses because "a family planning for a vacation hopes for one that is free of tensions and problems.

The final edition was renamed, now called the Travelers' Green Book: International Edition: For Vacation Without Aggravation ; it was the last to be published after the Civil Rights Act of made the guide effectively obsolete by outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodation.

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As the new title indicated, it was no longer just for the Negro, nor solely for the motorist, as its publishers sought to widen its appeal. Although the content continued to proclaim its mission of highlighting leisure options for black travelers, the cover featured a drawing of a blonde Caucasian woman waterskiing, [52] — a sign of how, as Michael Ra-Shon Hall puts it, "the Green Book 'whitened' its surface and internationalized its scope, while still remaining true to its founding mission to ensure the security of African-American travelers both in the U.

In the s, academics, artists, curators, and writers exploring the history of African-American travel in the United States during the Jim Crow era revived interest in the Green Book. The result has been a number of projects, books and other works referring to the Green Book. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 April September 12, Retrieved August 7, The Guardian.

Retrieved February 10, The Crisis. April The Journal of Negro History. The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts. Automobile in American Life and Society. University of Michigan. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 16, National Museum of American History. Retrieved December 26, Huffington Post. Retrieved April 9, September 15, Retrieved August 6, August 6, The New York Times. University of North Carolina Library. Retrieved August 5, Phoenix Magazine. Internet Archive. For a series of collages that surround the roadway, he used a vintage-looking commercial-grade fabric with a brick pattern to evoke the facades of buildings along the road.

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Bricks are one of his trademark motifs to evoke urban dwellings, jail cells and the modernist grid. A s Atlanta nightclub called the Top Hat was one of the spots that vividly captured Mr. Hats, too, appear frequently in his work, in performances, videos, painting and sculpture, and he is rarely seen without one. On the day I visited his studio — the cellar of a prewar apartment building in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, packed with fabric scraps, paint jars, books and other tools of his practice — he was wearing a black baseball cap with the initials D.

A row of felt hoops on the wall that suggested steering wheels were, in fact, brims cut from hats, he explained, while a stack of around 20 old-time-looking driving hats — or flat caps — sat on a nearby work table. Adams was getting ready to attach them to wooden wheels and place them on the roadway at MAD.

Vaguely aerodynamic, the hats strangely elicit both car and driver at once. They also hark back to Mr. While growing up in Baltimore in the s, he was visited frequently by relatives driving from Virginia or New York. Visitors must pass through them to traverse the road. Adams, whose recent solo show of collages at Tilton Gallery, his longtime New York dealer, also included references to roads.

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