THE NEED OF NEW IDEAS AND NEW AIMS. 23
albeit natural cravings, are always secondary to» the
things absolute and necessary.
There are circumstances constantly occurring wnere-
in we are bound to ignore the strongest bent of nature
and yield to the manifest currents of Providence.
There are, moreover, primal duties in life, to which all
other things must give way. Art and culture must
yield to these needs. It is not necessary Jthat we should
debase our natural qualities. But style and beauty are
secondary to duty^and moral responsibility. Men can¬
not live on flowers. Society cannot be built up upon
the strength which comes from rose-water. While I
have the firmest conviction that the black race in this
country will, eventually, take rank among the very
highest in the several spheres of art, I am equally con¬
vinced that the great demand of this day is for the
homely industries among us; that a premature addic¬
tion to it will be morally disastrous, that, as a people,
we should be careful to avoid a useless expenditure of
our strength and our. resources.
What, then, are the special needs of this race?
What are the grand necessities which call for the earli¬
est recognition and solicitude?
We find our answer to these queries in the discovery
of the deadliest breaches made in the character of our
people. We all recognize the evident harm we have
suffered in the times of servitude; and hence arises the
duty of seeking reparation for them. But to this end
we must single out the sorest calamities and the dead¬
liest wounds these injuries have left behind,