The New York Age (New York, New York), January 26, 1889
Fred Douglass, Jr., in the National Leader, exhibits too much temper in replying to our editorial suggesting a monument to Nat. Turner instead of one to John Brown. It indicates that we touched the Achillesean weak spot in his armor.
“That Nat. Turner has been dead many years” is almost equally true of John Brown. John Brown lost his life in urging and leading an insurrection of slaves. Nat. Turner at an earlier date did the same. The conduct of the one was no more heroic than that of the other. The whites have embalmed the memory of John Brown in marble and vellum, and Fred Douglass, Jr., now wants colored people to embalm it in brass; while the memory of the black hero is preserved neither in marble, vellum nor brass.
What we protest against is Negro worship of white men and the memory of white men, to the utter exclusion of colored men equally patriotic and self-sacrificing. It is the absence of race pride and race unity which makes white men despise black men all the world over.
We do not draw the color line. Fred Douglass, Jr., knows that his insinuation in this regard is baseless invention. We simply insist that in theory “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is splendid, but that in practice the philosophy of conduct is “do unto others as they do unto you,” the sooner to make them understand that a dagger of the right sort has two edges, the one as sharp of blade as the other.
We yield to none in admiration of the character and sacrifices of John Brown. The character and sacrifices of Nat. Turner are dearer to us because he was of us and exhibited in the most abject condition the heroism and race devotion which have illustrated in all times the sort of men who are worthy to be free.