Column 03Transcript of Article
"The State" and the Negro
The Richmond, Va., State in its issue of the 17th inst., under the caption of "The Big N" says:
The Negro Press Association of Virginia voted down a resolution providing for the commencement of the word Negro with a big
"N." Some previous Afro-American convention has decided in favor of the big "N."
It is universally conceded among us that where the word, Negro is used it should be written with a capital N.
The discussion arises over its use in designating our people, some preferring Colored, others Afro-American and still others
simply American citizen.
We are of the opinion that such discussions should occupy no place in our meetings. The State says:
These colored conventions are too frequent for the good of the colored race. Their heated discussion over such a trivial
matter proves that. What the Negro, whether he spells his name with a big or small end should do, is to eschew all conventions,
stick to the small end of a hoe and the big end of a watermelon and enjoy life.
In the contention to which reference is made, no heated discussion took place. The objectionable clause was stricken out
with but little debate.
It seems to be unadulterated gall for this journal to give us advice as to how often we should meet, in view of the fact that
the white State Press Association was in Charlottesville at the same time.
White men who were raised on a farm overseeing Negroes, it appears are never able to get rid of the impression that the Negro
is only good to handle a hoe and eat a watermelon.
Negroes are editing newspapers, practicing medicine, putting up prescriptions, filling chairs in theological seminaries, colleges,
instructing in the higher class of music, managing and controlling banks by being presidents and on the Boards of Directors,
writing a high class of poetry and creating a literature which will compare favorably with the productions of famed Anglo-Saxon
They are delivering intellectual and scholarly sermons to appreciative congregations, controlling their own brick yards and
business places, putting before the public amateur actors with elocutionists rendering the productions of Negroes' brain.
These things are taking place in our midst and if the State editor will take the trouble, we will have a Negro's brand new
$1100 carriage with a $200 pair of horses to call at his residence or office to carry him around his own town in it in order
that he may see what the Negroes in his own city are doing.
We will show him a funeral procession which is headed by a $1600 hearse owned by a Negro and drawn by a $300 pair of white
We desire to inform him that the Negro has advanced and that in his own mansion, he eats his watermelon in slices with a silver
knife; where in by-gone days he swallowed it in chunks to the infinite satisfaction of himself and the amusement of the lookers-on.
When white folks abandon organization, we may abandon it too.
When they emigrate to Africa, we may emigrate there too.
With our present idea, we were with them in the beginning and, lo, we will be with them to the end.
Summary of Article
This article provides an interesting commentary about the capitalization of the letter, N, in the word "Negro". A formal
discussion of this topic was held by the Negro Press Association of Virginia, which subsequently concluded that the "N" in
Negro should be capitalized in the press. The article also chastises the white State Press Association for its criticism
of this discussion, the Negro Press Association, and the Negro race in general. In an effort to refute this criticism, the
article presents numerous examples of black advancement and industry in Charlottesville. The article further challenges the
chief editor of the Press Association to explore the progress blacks have made in the city of Charlottesville.