Black Supremacy “Impossible” According To Frederick Douglass

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Cover of “The Race Problem” — Great Speech of Frederick Douglass Delivered from the Bethel Literary and Historical Association in the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church Washington, D.C. October 21, 1890.

In this extract from a speech presented in October 1890, Frederick Douglass denounces “Black Supremacy” as impossible. So exactly what are people referring to when they speak of “Black Supremacy?”

From speech entitled “The RACE PROBLEM:”

The superior intelligence of the whites, the comparative ignorance of the blacks, the former dominion of the whites and the former subjection of the blacks, the habit of bearing rule of the whites, and the habit of submission by the blacks make black supremacy in any part of our common country utterly impossible.

But supposing such an occurrence possible, what hardship would it impose? What wrong would it inflict? Who would be injured by it? If the blacks should get the upper hand, their rule would have to be regulated by the Constitution and the laws of the United States. They could not discriminate against white people on account of race, color, or previous condition without findings the iron hand of the nation laid heavily on their shoulders. The white people of the South are the rich, the negroes the poor; the white people are the landowners, the negroes are the landless. The white people of the South are numbered with the ruling class of the nation. They have behind them every possible source of power. They have railroads, steamships, electric telegraphs, the Army and the Navy. They have the sword and the purse of the nation behind them, and yet they profess to be shaking in their shoes lest the 8,000,000 of blacks shall come to rule over them and their brethren, the 50,000,000 of whites.

Now I am here to say that there is nothing whatever in this supposition. I can hardly call this invention a cunning device, for the pretense is too open, too transparent, too absurd, to rise even to the dignity of low cunning. It is an old ragged pair of trousers, and an old mashed and battered hat of the last century stuck upon a pole in a field where there are neither crows nor corn. It is the cry of fire by the thief when he would divert the officer of the law. It is as I have said, a red herring to divert the hounds from the true game, and the strange thing is that any class of our citizens, white or black, can be deceived by it.