Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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"The Colored Troops"
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Title"The Colored Troops"
DescriptionAn anonymous letter to the editor in the Galesburg Republican newspaper, June 4, 1870, complaining about having colored troops and white troops marching together in a recent parade.
Parades & processions
Subject (LCSH)Galesburg (Ill.) - Newspapers
CreatorGalesburg Republican
Time Period1870s
Date Created (original)June 4, 1870
IdentifierMicroforms Cabinets
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Date Digital2012-10-10
Editors Galesburg Republican: The sol-
diers who participated in the procession
as soldiers on Decoration Day would not
have made in numbers a respectable ser-
geant's squad. But for one cause there
would have been a battalion of white
troops in line, and a better feeling alto-
gether would have prevailed. Lest there
be any doubt that I am not understood
I will say distinctly that the colored
troops who officiously "mixed in, " or
were pushed into the ranks by their
special champions, kept scores of white
soldiers outside the procession. I am
perfectly aware that it is unpopular to
say this--I suppose that many who
hate the Irish, the Dutch, the Swedes or
somebody else that is white, will hold up
their hands in pious horror on account
of this declaration. Christians of the
straightest sect will tell us that all are
alike before God, and moral reform poli-
ticians will tell us that the law of the
land has made the African the equal and
peer of the paleface. Admitting all this
to be true, and also admitting the solem-
nity of the occasion, still I must be al-
lowed to give it as my opinion that the
action of the sable and tawny heroes in
thrusting themselves forward was deci-
dedly premature and in exceedingly bad
taste. If the colored men who had borne
arms in defence of the republic were de-
sirous of paying honor to the dead sol-
diers they would have displayed far more
sense and judgment by marching as a sep-
arate squad or detachment. Hundreds
of men who followed the old flag in dan-
ger and perii did so without having negro
comrades, and it is not to be expected that
they will march with them now. If our
colored fellow-citizens are desirous of be-
ing soldiers I am perfectly willing that
they shall wheel, march and counter-
march to their hearts' content, but it
would certainly look a great deal better
if they will perform their evolutions sole-
ly among themselves. I am perfectly
willing to admit, for the sake of argu-
ment, that they "fought nobly, " but I
am not willing to have a robust and lusty
colored warrior for a comrade on a hot
and dusty day--no matter what the opin-
ions of others may be.
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