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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 369

come? How should he have “intended insult” to the South, whose blood flowed in his mother’s veins, when he bade to his table one of the most distinguished citizens of our day, by whose company at tea Queen Victoria thought herself honored because he represents the effort, the hope, of raising a whole race of men—our black-skinned fellow-citizens—up to the grasp of what citizenship means? And where is there a man fool enough to believe that the clamor of silly reactionists whom history, whom life, have taught nothing, should move him one hair’s-breadth from the thing he knows is right—even from “the independent and fearless course he has followed in his attempt to secure decent and clean officials in the South”? I am quoting from the Montgomery (Alabama) “Times,” a manly Democratic newspaper that is not afraid of telling the truth. I have just now read the clear, patient, and statesmanlike answer of Carl Schurz to the question, “Can the South solve the negro problem?” He thinks it can if it will follow its best impulses and its clearest sense, not the ranting of those who would tempt it to moral and economic ruin with the old ignorant cry of “Keep the nigger