The content included in this source may be disturbing to some viewers and/or contain outdated language. In this editorial, Manly is responding to a speech by political figure Mrs. Rebecca Felton at the Agricultural Society at Tybee Island where she openly encouraged the lynching of African American men for alleged sexual violence against white women.
. . . Mrs. Felton, like many other so-called Christians, loses sight of the basic principle of the religion of Christ in her plea for one class of people as against another. If a missionary spirit is essential for the uplifting of the poor white girls, why is it? The morals of the poor white people are on a par with their colored neighbors of like conditions and if one doubts that statement let him visit among them. The whol lump needs to be leavened by those who profess so much religion and showing them that the presence of virtue is an essential for the life of any people.
Mrs. Felton begins well for she admits that education will better protect the girls on the farm from the assaulter. This we admit and it should not be confi[n]ed to the white any more than to the colored girls. The papers are filled often with reports of rapes of white women and the subsequent lynchings of the alleged rapists. The editors pour forth volumes of aspersions against all Negroes because of the few who may be guilty. If the papers and speakers of the other race would co[n]demn the commission of the crime because it is crime and not try to make it appear that the Negroes were the only criminals, they would find their strongest allies in the intelligent Negroes themselves; and together the whites and blacks would root the evil out of both races.
We suggest that the whites guard their women more closely, as Mrs. Felton says, thus giving no opportunity for the human fiend, be he white or black. . . [O]ur experience teaches us that the [white] women . . . are not any more particular in the matter of clandestine meetings with colored men than are the white men with colored women. Meetings of this kind go on for some time until the woman’s infatuation, or the man’s boldness, bring attention to them, and the man is lynched for rape. Every Negro lynched is called a “big burly, black brute,” when in fact many of those who have thus been dealt with had white men for their fathers, and were not only not “black” and “burly” but were sufficiently attractive for white girls of culture and refinement to fall in love with them as is very well known to all. . .
You set yourselves down as a lot of carping hypocrites in fact you cry aloud for the virtue of your women while you seek to destroy the morality of ours. Don’t ever think that your women will remain pure while you are debauching ours. You sow the seed–the harvest will come in due time.
Citation: Manly, Alexander. “[Untitled Editorial].” Wilmington Daily Record, August 18, 1898. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/1898/item/2278. Accessed 19 June 2023.
- How does Alexander Manly feel about lynching?
- What is one argument Manly makes against Felton’s encouraging of lynching?
- Pick a sentence that summarizes Manly’s advice to his readers on how to combat crime and explain why you chose it.
Missionary spirit: treating each other kindly based on Christian principles or ideals
On a par: the same
The whol lump needs to be leavened: Christians should treat everyone equally
Virtue: goodness of a person
Lynchings: illegal and violent executions of people
Aspersions: attacks on someone’s reputation
Fiend: wicked or evil person
Clandestine: something done in secret
Carping: critical or hard to please
Debauching: destroying someone’s purity