•who had for four years, pla+txl the destruction of the National
Government. But the Rep ublican members of Congress did, after
moat/'S of discussion, agree upon a plan of reconstruction; and, as
they have the controlim* power in Congress, their policy became the
Congressional policy. An amendment to the Constitution of the
United States was submitted to the States for their consideration,
with the understanding tli./ii the non-reconstructed States, which
adopt this amendment, will be recognized by Congress. This plan
of reconstruction does not satisfy many, perhaps a majority of the
Republican party, neverthel oss it is the policy of the party, and those
Southern States which adopt nhe amendment, will, without doubt,
be recognized, by Congress, although every colored man in America
protested. But, if these Spates do not adopt the amendment before
the Fortieth Congress assembles, I have reason to believe that their
present governments will be " wiped out," and new ones established,
enfranchising all loyal mai, white and colored, and disfranchising
a certain specified class of men who have been disloyal, although
no colored man should request it. I therefore conclude that political
discussion on the part of colored citizens can do no good at this time.
Whether it has or has not done good in the past, it matters not.
They have done their duty to themselves and their race by entering-
upon this discussion.
I have received information from nearly every part of the State
that white men prevent, if possible, the organization of Subordinate
Associations. Several influential colored men have been driven from
their homes, because they assisted in the organization of these Ass
sociations, and the lives of others have been threatened. I am con¬
vinced that the opposition would not be as great if political question
were not discussed at the meetings of the Associations. If political
discussions can do no good and may do harm, they had better be
postponed for the present.
The strongest argument, aud I might almost say the only argument,
that your enemies adduce in favor of withholding from you the right
of suffrage, is the ignorance of your people. It would be folly to
deny that most of the°colored people in the Southern States are igno<%
rant. Indeed they have beeu systematically kept in ignorance. It
was no fault of theirs that they were not educated. They were pre¬
vented by cruel laws from learning to read even. True, some few
were able to steal a little knowledge, but these usually lived in the
cities or large towns.
You were kept in ignorance that you might the more easily be
kept in slavery, and, if you ever expect to secure justice and equal
rights, your people must be educated. I would therefore advise that
our Association, for the coming year, labor to arouse the colored
people to the importance of gaining an education, and that we estab¬
lish as many schools in the State as possible.
I am informed that the Northern Associations that have sent
teachers South to instruct your ehiklren, will be able to establish but