Fannie Barrier Williams, Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the US, Chicago, 1893

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Fannie Barrier Williams, Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the US, Chicago, 1893

Description

Fannie Barrier Williams, Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the US since the Emancipation Proclamation, Chicago, 1893

Fannie Barrier Williams' speech is read by Sharitta Gross-Smith:

"Without further particularizing as to how this social question opposes our advancement, it may be stated that the contentions of colored women are in kind like those of other American women for greater freedom of development. Liberty to be all that we can be, without artificial hindrances, is a thing no less precious to us than to women generally.

We come before this assemblage of women feeling confident that our progress has been along high levels and rooted deeply in the essentials of intelligent humanity. We are so essentially American in speech, in instincts, in sentiments, and in destiny that the things that interest you equally interest us.

We believe that social evils are dangerously contagious. The fixed policy of persecution and injustice against a class of women who are weak and defenseless will be necessarily hurtful to the cause of all women. Colored women are becoming more and more a part of the social forces that must
help to determine the questions that so concern women generally. In this Congress we ask to be known and recognized for what we are worth. If it be the high purpose of these deliberations to lessen the resistance to woman's progress, you can not fail to be interested in our struggles against the many oppositions that harass us.

Women who are tender enough in heart to be active in humane societies, to be foremost in all charitable activities, who are loving enough to unite Christian womanhood everywhere against the sin of intemperance, ought to be instantly concerned in the plea of colored women for justice and humane treatment. Women of the dominant race can not afford to be responsible for the wrongs we suffer, since those who do injustice can not escape a certain penalty. But there is no wish to overstate the obstacles to colored women or to
picture their status as hopeless. There is no disposition to take our place in this Congress as faultfinders or suppliants for mercy. As women of a comĀ­mon country, with common interests, and a destiny that will certainly bring us closer to each other, we come to this altar with our contribution of hopefulness as well as with our complaints.

When you learn that womanhood everywhere among us is blossoming out into greater fullness of everything that is sweet, beautiful, and good in woman; when you learn that the bitterness of our experience as citizen-women has not hardened our finer feelings of love and pity for our enemies; when you learn that fierce opposition to the widening spheres of our employment has not abated the aspirations of our women to enter successfully into all the professions and arts open only to intelligence, and that everywhere in the wake of enlightened womanhood our women are seen and felt for the good they diffuse, this Congress will at once see the fullness of our fellowship, and help us to avert the arrows of prejudice that pierce the soul because of the color of our bodies."

Source: Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life: Their Words, Their Thoughts, Their Feelings, Penn State Press, 1990, pages 278-79

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http://YouTube.com

Publisher

Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life: Their Words, Their Thoughts, Their Feelings, Penn State Press, 1990, pages 278-79

Date

1893

Date Submitted

2017-08-21T19:53:28.000Z

Rights Holder

Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life: Their Words, Their Thoughts, Their Feelings, Penn State Press, 1990, pages 278-79

Citation

“Fannie Barrier Williams, Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the US, Chicago, 1893,” accessed May 20, 2022, https://rocheritage.org/items/show/136.