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Source: Life of Charles T. Walker, D. D.
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Extracts from Orations and Addresses” [chapter 17]
Author(s): Floyd, Silas Xavier
Publisher: National Baptist Publishing Board
Place of publication: Nashville, Tennessee
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: 138-54 (excerpt below includes only pages 138-43)

Floyd, Silas Xavier. “Extracts from Orations and Addresses” [chapter 17]. Life of Charles T. Walker, D. D. Nashville: National Baptist Publishing Board, 1902: pp. 138-54.
excerpt of chapter
Charles T. Walker (public addresses); William McKinley (memorial addresses); McKinley assassination (African American response); McKinley presidency; Theodore Roosevelt; William McKinley (religious character).
Named persons
Benjamin Franklin; James A. Garfield; Jesus Christ; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; James B. Parker; Theodore Roosevelt; William R. Shafter; José Toral y Vázquez; Charles T. Walker.
From title page: Life of Charles T. Walker, D. D., (“The Black Spurgeon.”), Pastor Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, New York City.

From title page: With an Introduction by Robert Stuart MacArthur, D. D.

From title page: By Silas Xavier Floyd, A. M.


Extracts from Orations and Addresses [excerpt]

     Tuesday evening, Oct. 8, 1901, public memorial services were held in Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, New York City, by the Saloonmen’s Protective Union No. 1, a benevolent association, in honor of the late President McKinley. Dr. Walker accepted the invitation to deliver the principal address. More than 2,000 people were present at the exercises. He delivered the following


     “It was said of Franklin when he died that the genius that had freed America and poured a flood of light over Europe had returned to the bosom of divinity. We are here this evening to honor the memory of our late President, who reunited the Amer- [138][139] ican nation, was the advance agent of protection and prosperity, universally beloved and deservedly popular. It is highly appropriate that the colored citizens of the metropolis of America should, in common with all other American citizens, pay honor to the noble-hearted, high-minded, Christian chief executive of the nation, who so recently passed to the great beyond.
     “President McKinley came from the common people, and was always in sympathy with the masses. It was often said that he kept his ear close to the ground, listening for the voice of the people. It may be as truly said that he kept his ear open to hear the command of his Maker, for he had triumphant Christian faith.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

     “Mr. McKinley came to the executive chair at a crucial period of the nation’s existence. Hard times, strikes, unrest, scarcity of money, were problems with which he was confronted. The war with Spain was soon waged; grave problems had to be faced and solved, and all these he disposed of in a statesmanlike manner.

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     “It has been claimed by many colored people that Mr. McKinley was not specially friendly to the Negro, and that colored men did not receive much recognition under his administration. Such a statement is made either because of ignorance of the truth or from misconception. I am one of those who believe the colored man should not stop to worry about position and office under any administration. That is a secondary consideration. Equal rights before the law, protection to life and property, the right to exist, the right to vote, the right to earn a living, the right to be a man, the right to be a freedman and a freeman, the right to expect equal [139][140] and exact justice irrespective of creed, color or condition, is a greater privilege than being an officeholder. And yet, Mr. McKinley was the representative of a party which had enacted every piece of constructive legislation that we know anything about for the advancement of the colored people. Under his administration practical recognition was given to more colored citizens than under any other president. He appointed twelve men in the diplomatic and consular service. A colored man was appointed as Register of the Treasury, a colored man was appointed as Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia, a colored man was appointed United States Stamp Agent; colored men were appointed collectors of internal revenue in several States; collectors of ports, postmasters, collectors of census returns, land office registers, receivers of public moneys, and scores of minor Federal appointments throughout the country were given to colored men. Two distinguished colorel [sic] men were appointed paymasters in the U. S. V. during the Spanish-American War. In that same war, there were 260 colored commissioned officers and 15,000 enlisted men. In the 48th and 49th regiments, the President appointed 24 Negro captains, 50 Negro first lieutenants, 48 second lieutenants, with 2,688 enlisted men. It is estimated that, under Mr. McKinley’s administration, colored men drew $8,477,000.
     “Not only did the President show his interest in the race by these and other appointments, but by his visits to several of our Southern schools, such as Tuskegee, the Georgia State Industrial College, and the Prairie View Normal School in Texas. At each of these schools he made excellent speeches, in which he spoke handsomely of the military prowess and patriotism of ‘the brave [140][141] black boys,’ as well as of the industrial and educational progress of the Negro.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

     “There is uneasiness in some sections concerning the attitude of Mr. McKinley’s successor toward our race. We have no cause to fear President Roosevelt. His past record entitles him to the confidence, love and respect of this American nation. He has a public record in times of peace and war of which this American nation should be proud. I have but to refer to him as Police Commissioner of New York City, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, as Civil Service Commissioner, where he made it possible for a larger number of intelligent and worthy colored men to hold permanent positions than has been made possible by any other man in the nation. His administration as Governor of the Empire State was one of fairness and impartiality. He will always be remembered as leading the Rough Riders up San Juan Heights, through the high grass, cutting the barb-wire fences, repulsing the Spanish soldiers, capturing the block house, planting Old Glory on the ramparts of Santiago, hastening the surrender of General Toral to General Shafter, and thereby freeing oppressed, suffering, bleeding Cuba.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

     “While Mr. McKinley made a great record as a soldier, statesman and president, he stands out conspicuously in the galaxy of presidents for his triumphant Christian faith. He said on one occasion, ‘A religious spirit helps every man. It is at once a comfort and an inspiration, and makes one stronger, wiser and better in every relation of life. There is no substitute for it. It may be [141][142] assailed by its enemies, as it has been, but they offer nothing in its place. It has stood the test of centuries, and has never failed to bless mankind.’ He was shot by a ruthless assassin, Sept. 6, 1901. The conduct of the president at that tragic moment was like that of the Lord. In the shadow of death, as he had done in the executive mansion, he protested against mob violence, and said, referring to the murderer, ‘Let no harm be done him.’ Our dear dead President was again like our Christ when he said, just before yielding up the ghost, ‘Good bye all, good bye; it is God’s way; let his will be done, not ours.’ His last prayer was one of submission and resignation to the will of the great God in whom he had so long trusted. And then, while standing on the interlacing margin of eternity, he repeated the Lord’s prayer and chanted ‘Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.’ And lifting up his eyes on the land afar off, he beheld the King in his beauty, and fell on that long and tranquil sleep, hanging up his garments in the wardrobe of nations to rest until the archangel’s trump shall disturb the long disordered creation, and soul and body shall be reunited.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

     “The race of which we are members feels proud of the part played by James B. Parker in preventing the assassin from firing the third shot, though prejudice has prevented his receiving his due meed of praise. But let us not despair. Mr. McKinley is not dead to this American nation. He is still joined to us by the past, and by the still more glorious anticipations of the future. Heaven has discussed the sins of America as Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, our martyred Presidents, have walked the golden streets, arm in arm. Too long have we winked at crime, lawlessness and [142][143] anarchy. And we must yet learn that the highest citizen is not safe so long as the life of the lowest citizen is not protected.”



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