February 15, 1869
Summary of the debate concerning whether or not "negros" are exempt from the "education" test to qualify to hold office.
No " Discriminations."- The ultra negrophilism of the Congress has led to many absurdities. One has just appeared. Pending the constitutional amendment in the Senate which provided that there should be no discrimination as to suffrage on account of " race or color," it was suggested that this would not exclude the educational test, whereupon they put in " education.' It was then suggested that these provisions only applied to "suffrage," and negroes might still be excluded from office ; and to meet this objection " the right to hold office" was inserted. This brought about the absurdity of making it unconstitutional to exclude a man from office because he could not read and write! Robert Dale Owen, the philanthropist, thinks this a little more than the negro is entitled to, and suggests the propriety of omitting "education." "What possible harm," says he, "can result from omitting "the word? And what serious evils may "result from it ? " Very true. If they go to take it out, however, some mischievous person will alarm them by the suggestion of new dangers for the pet lambs, and we shall likely have another absurdity.
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“No "Discriminations",” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed September 19, 2018, http://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1267.