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T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American AgitatorA Collection of Writings, 1880-1928$
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Shawn Leigh Alexander

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032320

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032320.001.0001

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The Negro in Politics

The Negro in Politics

(p.27) 6 The Negro in Politics
T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator

Shawn Leigh Alexander

University Press of Florida

This chapter presents Fortune's 1886 pamphlet The Negro in Politics, a strong condemnation of the Republican Party and a grand promotion of his “Race first; then party” philosophy. He assailed Frederick Douglass and others who called for sentimental support of the Republican Party. He demanded that African Americans stop following leaders like Douglass, who “have swallowed without a grimace every insult to their manhood.” Where is your race pride, he asked his readers. “Instead of loving the race,” he insisted, “each one of us seeks to get as far away from his African origin as circumstances will permit.” Fortune called for the intelligent use of the ballot for the race. The ballot was seen as a weapon, and Fortune demanded that the community use it as such. “The man who possesses the ballot and cringes and fawns upon his equals and spends his days in begging for what is legally his, is a coward who disgraces the dignity of his sovereignty,” he declared.

Keywords:   Republican Party, African American community, Frederick Douglass, race pride, ballot, political activity

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