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Source: Colored American Magazine
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Our Late President”
Author(s): Carter, Robert W.
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 6
Pagination: 446-48

Carter, Robert W. “Our Late President.” Colored American Magazine Oct. 1901 v3n6: pp. 446-48.
full text
McKinley assassination (African American response); William McKinley; anarchism (African American response); anarchism (compared with lynching).
Named persons
Frazier B. Baker; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.


Our Late President

     The untimely and ignominious death of President William McKinley cast a deep gloom over the entire country and brought grief and sorrow to a charitable, a powerful, and a prosperous Nation.
     No one but the anarchist or one of their family ever dreamed that the Nation’s Chief Magistrate would be carried back to our national Capital in a lifeless state. Cut off in the blossom of mature manhood, in the prime of his statesmanship, in a life of usefulness, and in a day of much concern to the American people. Cut off at a time when the great empire state was demonstrating to the world the progress of the American nation; at a time when his policy, together with a majority opinion of the American people, were sharing prosperity and carrying Christianity, light and knowledge to the ignorant and benighted in the distant seas.
     But withal he now sleeps the sleep of death, with Lincoln and Garfield, who, too, met their untimely end by the hand of treachery and violence. President McKinley had a right to live, and a right to expect to live, just as much as the anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, who treacherously took his life.
     President McKinley faithfully served his country at every calling. When the country wanted men to defend its flag, he bravely and willingly answered the call. In the Congress of the Nation he was steadfast and resolute in advocating the opinion which brought prosperity to the country he so much loved. Thus life was sweet to him and valuable to his fellow-countrymen, whose honor and respect as their chief ruler and representative he enjoyed; unlike the anarchist who took his life—for his was a life of care, of duty and of great responsibilities. It never was his effort to assassinate, but to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which is the true spirit and the leading principle of the country, and therefore his opinions of civil government will live, associating themselves with peace, harmony and prosperity for all time. Anarchism in parts of the country is a twin spirit to the mob violence prevailing in the South. Both are opposed to civil law and orderly government; opposed to Christianity and civilization; opposed to any rule which leads to justice for crimes committed, or any mandate that guides a nation or a community in the path of rectitude.
     And if this anarchism which is making every effort to become paramount in different parts of the country, like the mob spirit and lynch law which seem to be supreme over civil communities in the South, is allowed to prevail, the possession of life and liberty will be only a dream; the light of Christianity with the spirit of civilization will fade as the setting of the sun behind the Western hills; the comforts of prosperity of law and order will be anything but a reality. For it is plainly evident that the anarchist, as well as those who adhere to the lynching code, have no respect for law and order. The anarchist must assassinate, must take life, because he or she is rich and prominent and a ruler of the people, though so installed by a majority of common consent.
     The lynchers must kill and destroy life because he or she is black and is trying to achieve the highest point in manhood and womanhood. One case in point: Frazier B. Baker was regularly appointed and installed postmaster at Lake City, S. C., but he was a black man and for that reason he, like President William [446][447] McKinley, met an untimely and ignominious death.
     The anarchists say that “The Civil Code should be abolished and every man be allowed to govern himself or his community as he wants to,” and is therefore opposed to any rule promoting law and order in the community wherein they reside; is opposed to all governments and heads of governments—whether they are presidents or czars. But supposing they did accomplish their desire in having the civil courts abolished and have no judges to pass upon the wrongs of the people, have no officers of the law to arrest murderers, and there be no legal advocates to discourage the acts of committing atrocious crimes, what would be the worth of American freedom and civilization, of property, of life and liberty, of happiness and prosperity? And, again, if in the presence of the law the anarchist walks in with bold deceit and takes life, and the atrocious deed be applauded by those of his society, what would be done in the absence of the law? The presidents of railroads, of banks, and of great business co-operations, leaders of political parties, governors of states, mayors of cities and heads of mercantile houses would not live out half their days. But the anarchist would call this LIBERTY, a liberty we hope they will never enjoy.
     But they say that they are “Full of the love of liberty and the principles that make that liberty worth enjoying.” Which is a liberty and a principle?—to burn houses, destroy property and take the lives of those who may personally or officially offend and displease them; a liberty diabolical in its conception and a principle born in atrocities which finds no place in the American heart and should have no existence upon the American soil.
     They want NO CHURCH, NO GOVERNMENTS, NO LAWS, for this is their open and confessed creed, which puts them against God and establishes them an enemy of man, against humanity, and no friend to civilization, Christianity, law and order. But withal the unjust disfranchisement, lynching and burning at stake colored Americans, withal the “Jim Crow Car” laws, and other unjust statutes enacted by the different Legislatures in the South against colored citizens, none have been so unkind or so unpatriotic as to breathe of vengeance against the state or church, but have been patient and long suffering—philosophical and kind. And let us hope that good heaven will forbid that any citizen of color will ever prove anything but a loyal supporter of his country’s flag and all it represents. And that would simply be in keeping with his past record, for whether on the field of battle or as a civilian the Negro has proved himself a worthy citizen; and in that, he holds in greater respect and is more obedient to the laws, which the anarchists seek with every effort to put under their feet, ignoring the peace and harmony of the glorious country in which they live, holding in contempt the honored flag that gave them a home upon the free soil, and brings to their door happiness and prosperity, exceeding that afforded by the country from which they were exiled.
     And yet with this fair treatment, it seems to be their desire to assassinate and take the life of illustrious citizens who are the chosen heads of the government. And after they accomplish their aim what will it profit them? They took the life of the President of the United States—what is their gain? Contempt, antipathy and utter dislike for them and theirs. But it has awakened the whole world of sympathy and sorrow, of love and respect, for the dead President, which follows him to his untimely but honored grave, and which will in future build monuments to his memory.
     A love and a respect rightly and honorably merited, not by favors, but by his work and worth, by his fervent respect for the glorious flag under which he was born, by his love and devotion to the people whom he served in every official capacity, by his high opinions of the Amer- [447][448] ican principles, which he unrelentedly advocated from youth to manhood and through all the years of his public service, until he sublimely achieved a high order of statesmanship.
     And though untimely sent to his long home, he had the honor of seeing the country he loved and faithfully served rise among the Nations, the grandest of governments, the richest, the most civil and law-abiding Republic in the world. This was his delight, for in sentiment and opinion he was thoroughly American, a firm believer in the doctrine of the forefathers—which developed in a mighty progress and unparallel [sic] success to the American people. His highest ambition was the prosperity of his country—the welfare, the progress, and happiness of its people; thus he lived and died the uncompromising exponent of those heavenly principles that makes [sic] America the most gallant and the most famous among the galaxy of nations.
     But now the great hero of the American principles is gone—“gone to that undiscovered country from which no traveler returns.” The disappointment, the sadness and sorrow of death is not his; it is the Nation’s. He is free from care, sorrow and disappointment; he has gone where contention and the bitterness of the world’s strife is ended. The quietude of the grave is now his dwelling. There the song of the poet is silent; the voice of loved ones is forever hushed; the speech of friend and relation is heard no more—all is tranquillized in death. Yet we deeply deplore the sad and untimely taking off, we mourn his death with profound sympathy and sorrow. The record of a noble and well spent life is all that now remains.



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