Colored and White People

July 5, 1869


White Virginians are frustrated because they think that blacks are preventing them from gaining equal rights. White Virginians argue that because they are supporting suffrage for black men those black men should oppose the disenfranchisement clause.


Colored and White People. What is the matter? Why is it that the whites are separated from the colored citizens? The whites are warring against no right established for the colored man. They have proclaimed that the question of colored rights is settled, and that it can never be disturbed save by Congress. It is, therefore, beyond the reach of the people of Virginia. What is the matter, then ? Why is it that the great body of the colored people propose to disfranchise and disqualify the whites generally, while they support a man for Governor who has during his entire residence in the State endeavored in every possible way to oppress the whites and deprive them of the liberties of citizens ? How can the colored man expect white men to cooperate with him to disfranchise and degrade themselves ? On the other hand, what obstacle is there in the way of the colored man cooperating with the whites, who have acknowledged all his rights? Why cannot he join the whites, and thus secure to himself the benefit of the peace, prosperity, and harmony that would follow ? How much better that he should acknowledge the equality of the white man, join his own people, and be at rest, than that he should vainly and foolishly attempt to shackle his white fellow citizens, and permanently establish enmity between himself and them by betraying them to men who will cruelly oppress them, and who have no kindness or charity for him?
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Ali O'Hara




“Colored and White People,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022,