Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Galesburg Republican Jan. 28, 1871
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TitleGalesburg Republican Jan. 28, 1871
DescriptionEditorial in a Galesburg, Illinois newspaper supporting efforts by the African American community to integrate the public schools.
Subject (LCSH)Galesburg (Ill.) - Newspapers
Named PersonWilliams, Stoke;
CreatorGalesburg Republican
AuthorCarr, Clark E.
Time Period1870s
Date Created (original)January 28, 1871
IdentifierMicroforms Cabinets
RightsThis item is out-of-copyright.
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Date Digital2012-08-22
TranscriptTHE meeting of a large number of
the colored citizens of Galesburg on last
Monday evening, for the purpose of
taking action in regard to the question
of the right of colored children in at-
tending the public schools, is attracting
the attention of the people of the city
and deserves more than a mere passing
notice. The question of whether the
children of the newly enfranchised col-
ored people have the same rights of ed-
ucation as the children of their white
neighbors cannot be put aside, but must
be met squarely by the people of the
city and country, as it is such a question
as admits of no compromise or equivo-
cation. There can be no doubt but
there is a deep feeling in the communi-
ty against the commingling of the races
in the schools, and that there are many
who honestly think that the education
of the two races together will of neces-
sity injure the white children who at-
tend, and there are those who say that
the blacks have no rights in the schools.
In regard to the question of right, no
position can be more absurd in the light
of the present status of the colored peo-
ple. They are to-day as much citizens
of the republic as they would have been
had they been born white and grown up
with all the privileges given to the
whites, and the fact that they are black,
or that many of them were for a long
time held in slavery, has nothing to do
with the question. They are enfran-
chised citizens, and there is no citizen of
the republic, from the president down,
whether he be white, or black, or yel-
low, or German, Irish, Swede, African or
native, who does not have the same
rights as every other citizen. There can
be no caste, no especial privileges, but
every citizen has the same rights in ev-
ery institution which is created by na-
tional state or municipal authority as
every other citizen; and so far as the
public schools are concerned the blacks,
were they in the majority (as they are
in many counties in the south), and had
they they power, would have just as much
right to deprive white citizens of the
benefits of the public schools, as the
whites now have to deny or limit their
privileges. If the citizenship conferred
upon the negro means anything, it
means that there is no right which any
other citizen enjoys, of which he can on
account of either race or color, be de-
prived. Enfranchisement carries with

it all other rights, and we may as well
accept it at once; or if not, amend the
constitution of the United States by
striking out the fifteenth amendment.
With the present status of the colored
people we cannot see why Stoke Wil-
liams' boy has not just as much right to
all the immunities of the schools as
a son of the governor, and we believe
the courts must so decide if the matter
is brought before them. It will not do
to argue that by certain statutes of Illi-
nois, none but white children can enjoy
the benefits of the school money. Those
laws were enacted when no negro could
vote in the state, and when it was the
accepted law of the nation as expounded
by its highest judicial tribunal that a
negro had no rights which a white man
was bound to respect. To-day negroes
are not only full citizens of the republic
but they are senators at Washington ;
occupy seats in the lower house of con-
gress ; are judges and legislators in ma-
ny states, and hold every conceivable
position of trust.
We should be glad to see this ques-
tion settled in some manner that would
be satisfactory to all parties, and we be-
lieve that it would be far better for the
colored people themselves, if they would
send their children to schools composed
of their own people--at least for the
present, the colored children would be
undoubtedly happier and would probab-
ly accomplish more in their studies; but
it is absurd for us in Galesburg to attempt
to deny their equal rights with white
children in our public schools, while a ne-
gro is a student at the national academy
with the same rights and privileges as
the eldest son of the president of the
United States, who is a student in the
same institution.
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