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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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(p.74) 7 Negrowump
T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator

Shawn Leigh Alexander

University Press of Florida

This chapter presents Fortune's address for the twenty-third anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, where he took the opportunity to continue his push for independence in politics and for his “Race first” philosophy. Given in Oswego, New York, on August 6, 1886, Fortune lambasted the audience and the race as a whole for the lack of “race pride and confidence.” In the Republican, Frederick Douglass territory of New York, he called on the race to stand up and demand their rights and to act no longer as slaves to one political party or the political machine. He said, “You are simply a political cipher in the South and a voting machine in the North; and your Douglasses...and the rest have no more influence on the politics of the country nor the policies of the parties than so many Aunt Dinahs.” Fortune called on the community to declare themselves Negrowumps and act behind his motto of “Race first; then party.”

Keywords:   political independence, African Americans, race, Republican Party, civil rights, political parties

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