19th Century: 1852
African American Literature 1619-1926
Martin Delaney (1812-1885)
The Condition, Elevation, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, Politically Considered
Chapter II: Comparative Condition of the Colored People of the United States
But the African race had long been known to Europeans, in all ages of the world's history, as a long-lived, hardy race, subject to toil and labor of various kinds, subsisting mainly by traffic, trade, and industry, and consequently being as foreign to the sympathies of the invaders of the continent as the Indians, they were selected, captured, bought here as a laboring class, and as a matter of policy, held as such. Nor was the absurd idea of natural inferiority of the African ever dreamed of, until recently adduced by the slaveholders and their abettors, in justification of their policy. This, with contemptuous indignation, we fling back into their face, as a scorpion to a vulture. And so did our patriots and leaders in the cause of regeneration know better, and never for a moment yielded to the base doctrine. But they had discovered the great fact, that a cruel policy was pursued towards our people, and that they possessed distinctive characteristics which made them the objects of proscription. These characteristics being strongly marked in the colored people, as in the Indians, by color, character of hair and so on, made them the more easily distinguished from other Americans, and the policies more effectually urged against us. For this reason they introduced the subject of emigration to Canada, and a proper institution for the education of the youth.