Title: Our Washington Correspondence
Source text: Unsigned [Unknown], "Our Washington Correspondence," The Anglo-African 30 January 1864: .
Date: January 30, 1864
Civil War Washington ID: cww.02520
Our Washington Correspondence.
The great number of strangers now in Washington
makes it very lively. Several of our great men from
North, East, and West have been with us. Among
them are Rev. H. H. Garnet, C. L. Remond, and J. M.
Langston, Esq. Each of these gentlemen lectured for
us: 1st, Mr. Garnet before the Ladies' Contraband Re-
lief Association; 2d, Mr. Remond before Israel Lyceum
on Friday evening, Jan. 15, at Union League Rooms be-
fore an audience of an equal number of white and col-
ored persons, and at the 19th Street Baptist Church.
At each of these places Mr. Remond's remarks were
well received, but we feel sorry to say that our learned
friend showed a degree of unkindness in his remarks
at the close of Mr. Garnet's lecture at the 15th Street
Church, which created some hard feeling on the part
of our citizens who were so unfortunate as to hear
him. The remarks which gave offense were in sub-
stance as follows:
here there exists such a degree of prejudice one to an-
other. You speak of the white man's prejudice, but
you need not expect the white man to be true to you
unless you first learn to be true to your own people.
I know you do not like for me thus to expose your
wrongs in this particular before the white portion of
your audience, but a wrong is a wrong, and these
wrongs the white men know. And I am also told that
if one among you should by his industry or energy rise
in position a little above another, he only lives in this de-
gree to gain your prejudice. This indeed is a misera-
ble state of things which should not be. First be true
to yourselves then," etc.
These remarks were thought by many to be unkind,
addressed as they were to a social Southern people by
one coming, as did Mr. Remond, from the cold, reserved,
and ceremonious East; whose people have all the while
shown this very prejudice to a great degree to us from
the South whom chance might have thrown among
them, more especially in days gone by. On many oc-
casions our people have been made objects of scorn,
and have been set aside as fools and as those "from be-
hind the sun," and on other occasions we have seen
demonstrations of this prejudice in the East and North
that would startle us here in the hospitable South.
Then for this gentleman, who indeed was honored by
being called to speak after this great man, Rev. H. H.
Garnet, to get up with no more befitting subject than a
slanderous falsehood, and making it worse by saying it
had been told to him, is beyond endurance. By whom
had he been told? By some humbug who no doubt had
come here expecting to have people here gather him
up, fill his lean pockets, and worship him as a god.
No such uncalled for, out of place remarks were
needed by that intelligent audience. It would have been
better for that gentleman to have remained silent than
to have chilled this audience who had been so friendly
and kindly entertained by the Rev. Mr. Garnet. We
are a peculiar people—we have our peculiar customs
which are very agreeable to us as a people. It is true
these customs and ways may not please a Yankee at first
sight. So it may be with us when we go in Yankeedom.
They have their "H-o-w-s," and we have our "Whats."
But we should not fall out about this. It may be true
that we are not as fast as some of our Northern or
Eastern Cities in building up our great institutions for
particular classes, but we are laboring day and night
to bring all our forsaken people here to the surface at
one time. I rather think that more prejudice is shown
by our Northern and Eastern brethren than we show
one to another. We are slandered in all our efforts put
forth for the good of our people. For instance, your
people circulated such base reports as that our ladies
here, whose characters are unimpeachable, had deprived
those poor contrabands of the goods sent to them, and
sold the same. What people but a prejudiced one
would have circulated such reports? Remond and
Smith, who accompanies him, made some few side hits
at us here for our slow-coachism in not having free
schools, the right of franchise, etc., etc. As a matter
of course, we have been free here so long, it is a won-
der that we have not got beside ourselves and rebelled
against the United States. Men in big meetings when
before smiling anti-slavery audiences, can make use of
big words, but bring these men here, and put them to
work and they will be found wanting.
We are sorry to be called on to speak so plain, but
we can't help it. Our remarks may be received un-
kindly by these gentlemen, but we are a sensitive peo-
ple, who have been unjustly treated and criticized by
persons who think when coming to Washington that
they are coming South among a lot of slow ninny-
heads. But do not mistake yourselves, gentlemen,
though we may seem slow to you—yet we can assure
you we are wide awake and filling our places with as
much credit as any other people placed in like situa-
tions. Do not come among us with your hastily-formed
opinions, backed up by hearsay, but bring us light, ex-
ample, and wisdom, and not so much fault-finding.
We have had already enough of politics and of slave-
ry—of the latter, we are nearly tired to death. We
read it, we sing it, we pray it, we talk it, we speak it,
we lecture it, and the whole United States is in arms
against it. You come to tell us it is dead. Well, if that
is so, I thank God. Don't bother its carcase. Let us
improve the living who have been under slavery. You
who come from your grand school districts and boast
of your equal collegiate privileges at the East, do give
us some token of your refined and cultivated talents in
lectures on Literature, Science, and Art. Don't come
any more riding that old weather-beaten horse, anti-
The small-pox is on the increase in this city. The
police reported for the week ending Jan. 16, one thou-
sand six hundred cases other than in the hospital for
The city is very gay at this season. Many marriages
are taking place. Among the number is that of Rev.
Sandy Alexander to Miss Smith of Fredericksburg, Va.
He was married at his own church by Rev. S. W. Mad-
den. We wish this couple much happiness.
The Ladies' Contraband Relief Association received
from New York Colored Grammar School, No. 1, the
sum of $88, which was brought on by the Rev. Mr.
Garnet. This present was gladly received, and will be
hailed with great joy by the little motherless contra-
band children and the poor old decrepid. What makes
this more valued is that it is from the children of the
male and female department of a grammar school of
colored children. We hope other schools will follow