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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Reconstruction - Open Letter

The Colored People of Boston and vicinity, through the Colored National League, at a mass meeting held in the Charles Street Church, Tuesday evening, October 3d, 1899, addressed an Open Letter to President McKinley.

The reading of the letter by Mr. Archibald H. Grimk┌, Chairman of the Committee, was listened to with marked attention and interest, and at the conclusion of its reading the letter was adopted by the meeting with significant unanimity.

The letter was forwarded to President McKinley, signed by the officers of the meeting and others.

Boston, Mass., October 3, 1899.

Hon. William McKinley,
President of the United States,

We, colored people of Massachusetts in mass meeting assembled to consider our oppressions and the state of the country relative to the same, have resolved to address ourselves to you in an open letter, notwithstanding your extraordinary, your incomprehensible silence on the subject of our wrongs in your annual and other messages to Congress, as in your public utterances to the country at large. We address ourselves to you, sir, not as suppliants, but as of right, as American citizens, whose servant you are, and to whom you are bound to listen, and for whom you are equally bound to speak, and upon occasion to act, as for any other body of your fellow-countrymen in like circumstances. ...

We have suffered, sir,--God knows how much we have suffered!--since your accession to office, at the hands of a country professing to be Christian, but which is not Christian, from the hate and violence of a people claiming to be civilized, but who are not civilized, and you have seen our sufferings, witnessed from your high place our awful wrongs and miseries, and yet you have at no time and on no occasion opened your lips in our behalf. Why? we ask. Is it because we are black and weak and despised? Are you silent because without any fault of our own we were enslaved and held for more than two centuries in cruel bondage by your forefathers? Is it because ...

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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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