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National Leader (Washington D.C.), January 19, 1889


   The editor of the New York Age draws the color line over our proposition to erect a monument to the memory of the life and character of John Brown and suggests that Nat. Turner stands more in need of one. We have no fault to find with his suggestion; but when he sluringly remarks “that whenever colored men move that somebody’s memory be perpetuated, that somebody’s memory is always a white man’s,” he helps to sustain the charge made against us by the whites of the South, “that it is the colored people who draw the color line.” We have always been of the opinion that the character and good acts of a man were worthy of emulation and perpetuation, and not his color. But the young gentleman who edits the Age makes color the condition of action towards erecting a monument in honor of one who broke the chains from about his neck and made him free to act for himself. The suggestion made by the Leader has led the Age to discover no good traits in Nat. Turner’s character that precedes his being black. “Nat. Turner was a black hero. He preferred death to slavery. He ought to have a monument. White men care nothing for his memory. We should cherish it.”


   Nat. Turner has been dead many years, and the editor of the Age has never found time to suggest a monument for him until now, and he only suggests it now in opposition to one being erected in honor of John Brown, because he was so fortunate or unfortunate as to be born white. Prejudice among the white people of this country is dying out; but the editor of the Age would encourage it among the blacks. This is not wise nor just, but what does the Age care? We trust you will get straight on this matter. If you wish to slur at the proposer of a monument for John Brown, do so; but don’t set up such a ridiculous strain of reasoning as an objection, based on color. You can do better we know, if you will only try.


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