White and Black

May 20, 1869


The Editor says that Governor Wells has created division between the white and black Virginians. He accuses the Radical Republicans of manipulating the "uneducated" blacks into voting for their party, even though their party- white Virginians- are the ones truly working for justice.


White and Black. The great evil of the hour is the alienation of the races in this State by the machinations of those who are represented, soul and body, by Governor Wells. That man is the life of the proscriptive party, who, trusting to the support of the blacks, seek to fill them with malice towards the whites: and who, fearing the strength of the whites, seek to impose disabilities upon them and. by one trick and another, to put the Government under the control of the colored voters. They know that if they can only keep the black man under the delusion that they are his best friends, and that the white natives are his enemies, all the power that may be acquired through the colored vote will be confided to their hands--that all the little streams of government disbursement - and pickings will flow into their pockets. With this policy they proceed to agitate the colored people and to till their minds with every vanity and folly--charming them with such flattery as that with which the fox charmed the crow, and induced her. in the attempt to sing, to drop the bit of cheese which lie so much coveted ! It is no wonder they should be inflated with the consequence, and with the conceit that, just out of slavery, uneducated and inexperienced as they are, they are altogether ready and competent to till the highest offices in the State ! The logical consequent! of this system of hypocritical flattery and solicitation is shown upon the "Wells ticket, which oilers to this State an Ohio negro for Lieutenant-Governor and for President fo the Senate of Virginia ! This is the most unfortunate thing in the world for the colored people. It is monstrous to press them without further probation upon the government of the State, lt is monstrous thus to claim such responsible positions for beings sn palpably incompetent. The mere proposition is bad enough : but should it meet with success, the consequences upon the State in destroying confidence and bringing disaster upon public credit would be fearful, while it would react upon the blacks with a force that would be calamitous. Look at the dreadful attitude of the State should the barbarous demagoguery of WELLS succeed-should, indeed, society be turned upside down, experience and intelligence banished from public places, and inexperienced and reckless incompetence till them. What department of State, what one of the public institutions, would escape confusion and derangement ? The incursion of an element so debauched and disorder would bring a crash upon all the public and private interests, and capital and labor would tie involved alike in ruin. The institutions of learning under the rule of such barbarous demagoguery would lie utterly ruined, as in the case ol Columbia College and Chapel Hill, and the whole system of education in the State would perish. Will the people of Virginia--by folly, by willful suicide--permit these horrors to fall upon them while they have the power to prevent them? We shall see. If thev do, they will have time to repent; for the Destructives, once in power, will manage to hold it until remorse will have thoroughly tacked the souls of those who shall be sc merchant to their public, duty and their solemn obligations to society as to assist in this horrid consummation by apathy and impracticability !
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Ali O'Hara




“White and Black,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1356.