Color Line

For the last twenty years, colored people had been experiencing the effects of racism from the natives, which negatively affected their social and economic progress. They have no freedom of speech, are accused and judged wrongly in courts and face social oppression and humiliation. This is the reason they held a meeting on 24th Sept 1883, to search a way forward to rise against this oppression.

Racism in America impacts its social and economic progress even today. This article, an extract from one of Douglass’ speeches delivered on the September 24 1883, depicts how racism against African Americans prevailed.

 The country’s situation at the period is that the Union troops withdrew from Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida at around 1877. Though the African-Americans were assumed to be free after this, their status was not practically equal to the rest. In reality, they faced prejudice in all aspect of their lives; for instance, the court decisions made at the time were contrary to the statements of the 14th and 15th Amendments regarding the African Americans.

African Americans are tired of living among people who do not appreciate them in any way. They have suffered as victims of their traditions, laws and prejudices for centuries, and they still are not free.


Fredrick Douglas carried out a research and gave the following speech regarding racism and its implications on 24th September 1883.

Economic Progress

Douglas identifies that a person of color as one who should not progress according to natives' view.

  • Colored people are hailed if they act ignorantly, ragged or wretched; and provoked if scholarly and gentlemanly.
  • He cannot trade; all trade unions reject him, and there exists a barrier between him and the profitable trades, which makes him economically poor.
  • A colored man faces racism all times, irrespective of his status, religion or occupation.

Social progress

 Socially, colored people are subjected to intimidation, oppression and withdrawal. The speech presented the following.

  • For instance, the Republican-a political party whose majority of supporters are natives-was against the meeting Douglass was addressing.
  • Colored people do not have freedom of expression, and this is what they were advocating for. Worse still the insecurity in America-which directly affects social and economic development is accelerated by the fact that colored people are perceived as the only crime-committers. Their opponents, according to the article, mask themselves and commit filthy crimes disguising as people of color. The law enforcers are biased; they always act and judge in favor of the natives.
  • What the whites have done is changing their written law, and act contrary to it. Douglass says that it is easy for individuals to change, but for an entire nation, it takes a long time to change their nationalism.


I.It is colored people’s time to rise and oppose this objection and prove their honesty.

II.Colored people should be judged by their own work and not the racism mentality.

III.The amended laws concerning colored people’s freedom should be put into practice.

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