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Dr. Joshua McCarter Simpson


The Clarion of Freedom

New Concord, Ohio

July 28, 1848.


Letter to the Editor [Rev. M.R. Hull]


 Joshua McCarter Simpson (1821-1877)


For the Clarion: Strike, but hear me!


Mr. Editor: as you profess to be a true, unbiased friend of the colored man, a stern advocate of his unalienable rights, I will beg leave to occupy a column or two in your respectable paper, for the purpose of expressing my feelings towards a certain class of white people, who throng our streets every day, spitting out, at every colored person whom they meet, the sultry contents of their diabolical hearts, without mercy or manners.

I am aware that I shall expose myself as an object to be spat at, especially by the baser sort; but I am not ashamed to let the world that I consider myself a man - made in the image of God, endowed with reason, susceptible of feelings as a man, and let my enemies strike me - I hope they will hear me.

There is a class of white people (I mean the true friends to the colored man,) who would rejoiced to see our fallen race (especially of the State of Ohio,) arise and shine in all the brilliancy of humanity, that the prejudiced world might see our good works, and bid God speed to the day of the final abolition of the three million souls now held as stock in this free republic; and we (many of us, at least,) would be happy to brighten, and cheer the hopes of our Abolition friends by showing ourselves men, in the highest sense of the word.

But there is another class. I mean the offscourings of God's earth - composed of the illiterate, ill-bred, rum guzzlers, self-conceited, stock of pride, monuments of inequity, vile in persons, corrupt in mind, penitentiary fugitives, children of the devil, white sepulchers, full of dead men's bones and candidates for eternal perdition. These are they who are going up and down; the earth, and "strutting up and down therein" striving, in all the strength of their father, the devil, to counteract every influence which tends to raise the black man from his present loathsome pit, and place him on an equal platform with the white man.

But, say some, how do they effect their subtle designs? I answer, in the first place, by enacting and tolerating those abominable black and half human laws, which so deeply so deeply disgrace the pages of the statute book of Ohio. It is well understood what I mean by black laws. And I mean, by half human laws, those which pretend to analyze and weigh a man's blood for the purpose of discriminating a man from a brute - showing who has white blood enough to give him access to the ballot box; and who has the benefit of the common school fund; and who may testify in Court against a white man, &c.; thus erecting a perfect z Quadroon Asylum. But God forbid that any person who contains enough colored blood to be perceptible, should ever attempt to take the advantage of his more sable brother, by applying to this seven headed hydra.

Some say, " be thankful for, and improve the blessings you have so graciously granted you." Be thankful? for what? Because the people in power have devised a more effectual plan for sowing discord, firebrands, arrows and death among our people? Because our enemies have been successful in drawing a line of separation between the two shades - thus making the law recognize and embrace the man that is over and above half white, throwing over him her wing of protection, and bidding him a hearty welcome to all the benefit which she is able to confer upon men of pure European blood; while on the other hand, it spurns and sets at naught the brother of a darker hue? That the public sentiments are holding up to my brother flattering inducements, enticing him to esteem himself my superior on account of the yellow of his skin? No gratitude found in me> These laws, together with the Ohio black laws, should be blotted out and rooted together, and hurled into the bottomless pit, from whence they originated, that this free and enlightened State might be free from their infernal stain.

Again. They will not redress our wrongs, where the law might protect us. Our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, and even ourselves, are daily blackguarded and insulted wherever we go - not only by the low and most degraded pale faces, but even by young, intelligent-looking, sensible-appearing young men, and not infrequently old men, who live on chickens and sweetmeats, and speak great swelling words about liberty, war and blood-bought freedom, And what can we do? We must but stand and look on, not even daring to lift a finger in defense of our own persons or family. If we do, we hazard our lives and property.

Again. Many encourage their children in abusing the colored man. Almost every boy or girl we meet, from three years old upwards, seems to take it for granted, that they are licensed by government to sauce every colored man or woman they meet. It matters not how well a colored person may conduct himself, he can scarcely pass a square, in any of our towns or village in Ohio, without being grossly insulted.

Again I ask, what can we do? Some pretended friend step up, and kindly says: " Don't let on you hear them; it is all children's nonsense, any how." "As the old cock crows the young one learns," is a lesson I learned when quite a youth. Those lessons are also taught, and their deep impression left upon the minds of many of the white children, when dandling on the mother's knee. There the child is taught first to say "ma," second "pa'" and third "nigger;" so on they proceed, increasing in tenfold proportion, until they are worthy of the degree M.G.*

Again. They keep us down by exposing our vices and concealing our virtues. Let the colored person commit a disgraceful act, and how soon you will hear it echoing from lip to lip, "There, that's just like a nigger." If there is the least speck of inhumanity discovered in the black man's character, it blots the character of the whole nation. But when he attempts to improve his mind, and successfully measures intellect with some of his supposed superiors - when he asserts his right to the enjoyment of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," then the nigger is out of his place. Again I ask, what shall we do? We are called upon on every side to show ourselves men; and in order to be men to suit the white man, we must drawn thro' the flint mill of derision - "stricken, smitten of "man, "afflicted," yet we "dare not open our mouths." A white man, enduring what we are compelled to endure, would be called no man at all; but for a colored man to "resist the powers that be," has lost sight of the end of his existence> I am a colored man - mortal wound has been made in my spirit by the white man's keen retorts, and it is daily aggravated by the well-trained youth who are only preparing to follow in the footsteps of their sires.

And now, unto all whom it may concern be it known unto you, that we are not all brutes as you suppose; and, tho' we must now humble ourselves as dogs, and have our ears pulled and our souls grieved by you and your children, the day is fast approaching when God will visit your inequities upon your own pates. For I do believe that " MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN" is now written by the hand of God upon your citadels. And I believe that the promise of God, made to Jacob, (Jer. XXX., from 18th ver. to the end of the chap. - read it,) will be verified to us, and that before many years.

                                                                J. M'C. S.

Zanesville, July 24, 1848.


*Magog. (Kingdom of Satan).



Thanks to Michel Perdreau, MLS

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 

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