21 January, 2013


Today we honor a man who's life sowed a seed that this current generation is reaping. All people have others who set the stones for those who follow and I wanted to speak on the man who set the pathway for this to even happen.

Charles W. Chesnutt.

I first found out about him when he was honored with a US Stamp.
I had never heard of him so I immediately went to the internet to search for him. I was truly surprised that his name is so infrequently spoken. A novelist, early member of the NAACP, lawyer, and political activist.

I was even more surprised by an essay he wrote in 1905 for the The Crisis; "Race Prejudice, Its Causes and Its Cure"
 And now to close, may I venture a prophecy? There are many who see the world through smoked glasses, and who view this problem of race solely from the pessimistic point of view, I think for my own part that it is in a healthy process of solution, which by sticking closely to correct principles and by acting upon them when the opportunity offers, we can help to further. Looking down the vista of time I see an epoch in our nation's history, not in my time or yours, but in the not distant future, when there shall be in the United States but one people, moulded by the same culture, swayed by the same patriotic ideals, holding their citizenship in such high esteem that for another to share it is of itself to entitle him to fraternal regard; when men will be esteemed and honored for their character and talents. When hand in hand and heart with heart all the people of this nation will join to preserve to all and to each of them for all future time that ideal of human liberty which the fathers of the republic set out in the declaration of independence, which declared that all men are created equal, the ideal for which Garrison and Phillips and Sumner lived and worked; the ideal for which Lincoln died, the ideal embodied in the words of the Book which the slave mother learned by stealth to read, with slow-moving finger and faltering speech, and which I fear that some of us have forgotten to read at all-the Book which declares that "God is so respector of persons, and that of one blood hath he made all the nations of the earth."
 You will notice that those words are quite familiar. How and when they reached MLK are not known but their impact on him is obvious. Even though Chesnutt is lesser known his hope, prophecy and words gave birth to a Dream.

Here are a few places to learn further about him: Wikipedia, Chesnutt Archive.