Hello Chattanooga History Lovers,
I’m so glad you found this website. It is dedicated to highlighting the impact African Americans have made on Chattanooga, Tennessee since it first came into existence.
For this very first post, I would like to share an absolutely beautiful speech from my book, African Americans of Chattanooga. I found the speech in a 1938 Chattanooga newspaper, and I have re-printed it here in its authentic form.
I want to warn you, there are words like “Negroes” and “slaves” in the speech. These words are not politically correct today, and I do not want to offend anyone. Do know that they are not used in a derogatory manner. Remember, this speech was written in 1938, only 73 years after emancipation.
So without further ado…to African Americans of Chattanooga:
Excerpt from “From Slavery…Negroes’ Progress,” by Jasper T. Duncan.
Chattanooga Times, 1938
“Negroes measure their progress and contribution to the community, state and nation, not by the heights to which they have risen, but by the depths from whence they have come.
One hundred years ago they were slaves…today they are living side by side witht he children of their former masters, working diligently to make the south and the nation at large a better place for their having been set free and given opportunity.
Thrift and industry had to be theirs, despite lack of intelligence and the lack of industry. They were the mechanics of the south. They cut the stone from the quarry, made the bricks, felled the trees, and hewed them into dwellings, shod the horses and otherwise learned to work with their hands and to build.
Here in Chattanooga, we have various instances of how even before freedome came, Negroes ‘let their buckets down where they were’ and set about to make definite and honorable contributions…”
Well, that’s all for now. If you’ve enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of my book, African Americans of Chattanooga: A History of Unsung Heroes. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Until next time, best wishes and happy researching.