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One muffled strain in the Silent South, a jarring chord and a vague and uncomprehended cadenza has been and still is the Negro.And of that muffled chord, the one mute and voiceless note has been the sadly expectant Black Woman, An infant crying in the night, An infant crying for the light; And with no language--but a cry.We have not yet reached our ideal in American civilization.The pessimists even declare that we are not marching in that direction.And here let me say parenthetically that Page 12 our satisfaction in American institutions rests not on the fruition we now enjoy, but springs rather from the possibilities and promise that are inherent in the system, though as yet, perhaps, far in the future.
The Koran, which, unlike our Bible, was a product and not a Page 10 growth, tried to address itself to the needs of Arabian civilization as Mahomet with his circumscribed powers saw them. As a personality, an individual soul, capable of eternal growth and unlimited development, and destined to mould and shape the civilization of the future to an incalculable extent, Mahomet did not know woman. The heaven of the Mussulman is peopled and made gladsome not by the departed wife, or sister, or mother, but by houri--a figment of Mahomet's brain, partaking of the ethereal qualities of angels, yet imbued with all the vices and inanity of Oriental women.The colored man's inheritance and apportionment is still the sombre crux, the perplexing cul de sac of the nation,--the dumb skeleton in the closet provoking ceaseless harangues, indeed, but little understood and seldom consulted.Attorneys for the plaintiff and attorneys Page II for the defendant, with bungling gaucherie have analyzed and dissected, theorized and synthesized with sublime ignorance or pathetic misapprehension of counsel from the black client. The summing up of the evidence deposed, and the charge to the jury have been made--but no word from the Black Woman.It is because I believe the American people to be conscientiously committed to a fair trial and ungarbled evidence, and because I feel it essential to a perfect understanding and an equitable verdict that truth from each standpoint be presented at the bar,--that this little Voice, has been added to the already full chorus.The "other side" has not been represented by one who "lives there." And not many can more sensibly realize and more accurately tell the weight and the fret of the "long dull pain" than the open-eyed but hitherto voiceless Black Woman of America.
The feverish agitation, the perfervid energy, the busy objectivity of the more turbulent life of our men serves, it may be, at once to Page III cloud or color their vision somewhat, and as well to relieve the smart and deaden the pain for them.