Black People : A great E-Book About our Plight

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by HODEE, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. HODEE

    HODEE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Social History of The American Negro
    by Benjamin Brawley

    This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
    almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
    re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
    with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

    http://www.sakoman.net/gutenberg/1/2/1/0/12101/12101-h/12101-h.htm


    An African Society was organized in New York in 1808 and chartered in 1810, and out of it grew in course of time three or four other organizations. Generally close to the social aim of the church and sometimes directly fathered by the secret societies were the benefit organizations, which even in the days of slavery existed for aid in sickness or at death; in fact, it was the hopelessness of the general situation coupled with the yearning for care when helpless that largely called these societies into being. Their origin has been explained somewhat as follows:

    Although it was unlawful for Negroes to assemble without the presence of a white man, and so unlawful to allow a congregation of slaves on a plantation without the consent of the master, these organizations existed and held these meetings on the "lots" of some of the law-makers themselves. The general plan seems to have been to select some one who could read and write and make him the secretary. The meeting-place having been selected, the members would come by ones and twos, make their payments to the secretary, and quietly withdraw. The book of the secretary was often kept covered up on the bed. In many of the societies each member was known by number and in paying simply announced his number. The president of such a society was usually a privileged slave who had the confidence of his or her master and could go and come at will. Thus a form of communication could be kept up between all members. In event of death of a member, provision was made for decent burial, and all the members as far as possible obtained permits to attend the funeral. Here and again their plan of getting together was brought into play. In Richmond they would go to the church by ones and twos and there sit as near together as convenient. At the close of the service a line of march would be formed when sufficiently far from the church to make it safe to do so. It is reported that the members were faithful to each other and that every obligation was faithfully carried out. This was the first form of insurance known to the Negro from which his family received a benefit.62

    All along of course a determining factor in the Negro's social progress was the service that he was able to render to any community in which he found himself as well as to his own people. Sometimes he was called upon to do very hard work, sometimes very unpleasant or dangerous work; but if he answered the call of duty and met an actual human need, his service had to receive recognition. An example of such work was found in his conduct in the course of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793. Knowing that fever in general was not quite as severe in its ravages upon Negroes as upon white people, the daily papers of Philadelphia called upon the colored people in the town to come forward and assist with the sick. The Negroes consented, and Absalom Jones and William Gray were appointed to superintend the operations, though as usual it was upon Richard Allen that much of the real responsibility fell. In September the fever increased and upon the Negroes devolved also the duty of removing corpses. In the course of their work they encountered much opposition; thus Jones said that a white man threatened to shoot him if he passed his house with a corpse. This man himself the Negroes had to bury three days afterwards. When the epidemic was over, under date January 23, 1794, Matthew Clarkson, the mayor, wrote the following testimonial: "Having, during the prevalence of the late malignant disorder, had almost daily opportunities of seeing the conduct of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, and the people employed by them to bury the dead, I with cheerfulness give this testimony of my approbation of their proceedings, as far as the same came under my notice. Their diligence, attention, and decency of deportment, afforded me, at the time, much satisfaction." After the lapse of years it is with something of the pathos of martyrdom that we are impressed by the service of these struggling people, who by their self-abnegation and patriotism endeavored to win and deserve the privileges of American citizenship.

    All the while, in one way or another, the Negro was making advance in education.


    http://www.sakoman.net/pg/html/12101.htm
     
  2. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    thanks for this info and link brutha HODEE very useful
     
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