The (New York) Sun

1884: November 19

They are Reassured by the Colored Clergy and
Their White Friends--Most of Them Have No Fears that the
Change of Parties Will Be Harmful to Their Interests.

  COLUMBIA, S.C., NOV. 18.--The negroes of Laurens, Newberry, Darlington, Abbeville and several other counties of this State have been very much stirred up and frightened by the designing carpet-baggers and scalawags, who have persuaded them that since Cleveland is elected it is the purpose of the white people of South Carolina to enact laws reestablishing the whipping post, and that they intend to whip the negroes upon the slightest provocation, whether found guilty or not. The more ignorant negroes have also been made to believe that in a few years they will be remanded back into slavery.

  These absurd stories, though not generally believed by the negroes, have nevertheless had the effect to cause great uneasiness among those who live in the backwoods, and they are getting ready in large numbers to emigrate to Arkansas. It is said that 1,500 will leave Laurens county early next month, and hundreds will leave Abbeville, Darlington, and Newberry counties about the same time.

  On the other hand, Prof. D. A. Straker, the well-known colored lawyer, who was the Republican candidate for Lieutenant-Governor, but who did not receive his party vote, because the Republican managers did not print his tickets, is quite philosophical over Cleveland's election. He declares that it gives the Democrats their great opportunity, and that perhaps it may be the means of obliterating party distinctions in the South and insuring the highest prosperity of both the white and colored races. He cannot see that anything but good can come of the removal of Federal officeholders, who have been the stirrers up of strife between the races, and he thinks that the Democrats can by moderation and wisdom unite the colored people with them on one line of political policy. He says that he has done his best to reassure the colored people in some of the upper counties, who, misled by the false statements of Democratic intentions, have been greatly agitated, and have been seeking to arrange for emigration to the Southwest.

  ATLANTA, NOV. 18--The rumors sent out by unscrupulous correspondents concerning race troubles in the South are utterly and absolutely false. Following the announcement of Mr. Cleveland's election to the Presidency, there was a feeling on the part of the colored people that it might forbode disaster. This was aided to some extent by the jocularity of some young men, who would laughingly say to colored men that they were now worth $1,000 apiece. The young men did not dream how sensitive colored men were on this point. However, the beginning of alarm was promptly stifled by the leading newspapers of the South and by such men as Senators Brown and Colquitt of Georgia, Hampton and Butler of South Carolina, and Morgan and Pugh of Alabama. All of these gentlemen, both in public and in private, have assured the colored people of their safety in the enjoyment of their rights.

  The country papers of Georgia, without a single exception, have editorials addressed to the colored people, in which they are kindly urged to pay no attention to idle rumors, but to rest secure in their constitutional rights. As for the colored people themselves, their conduct is admirable. When, during the war, they were left at home with the wives and children of Confederate soldiers at their mercy, they acted with absolute trustworthiness. When, at the close of the war, they were set adrift and instigated to deeds of devilishness by incendiary white men who came among them from the North, it stands to their credit that they gave but little heed to the unscrupulous carpet-baggers. Now, when about to witness the transfer of Government from the party to which they ascribe their freedom to the party controlled by their former masters, they are admirably cool and do their duty well.

  The report of a riot at Dublin in this state was untrue. The reports that at several fires the negroes have neglected to render proper assistance are likewise false. The white and black people, who have solved worse problems than the present, will pass through the existing crisis in perfect harmony. The intelligent negroes are not at all troubled, and the whites are determined that the negro shall not only be secure in his constitutional rights, but shall also share in the benefits of official patronage.

  RICHMOND, NOV. 18--Since the election of Cleveland the negroes of Virginia have been in a state of alarm, owing to an impression, undoubtedly provoked by the Republicans, that they would be re-enslaved if the Democrats got into power. In the past two days, however, their fears have been abated, although many of them are still troubled in mind. Only a few days since an old darky, living near here, killed his cow, and, when asked the reason, said that he knew his old master could claim him, but d----d if he should have his cow.

  To-night 200 negroes paraded in the procession here in honor of Cleveland's election. They came from Charlotte and Halifax counties, a distance of 100 miles, to unite in the celebration. Fears were at one time entertained by members of their race here, but they proved unfounded. The colored clubs were the observed of all observers. White men marched by them to protect them against any attacks that might be made upon them by angry members of their race. The precautions, however, were not necessary.

  Several prominent negroes here have since the election of Cleveland given their opinion that the negroes in this state would not hereafter vote as a unit with the Republicans, but the vote would be divided, and a large minority would vote with the native Virginians.

  The negroes viewed the celebration to-night, and were orderly. The whites have made every effort to rid their minds of any groundless fears.

  CHATTANOOGA, NOV. 18--Since the election of Cleveland there has undoubtedly been some uneasiness among the colored people here for fear that they would be sold back into slavery, and it is rumored that some of them have gone so far as to hunt up their old shotguns and pistols in order to resist such a movement on the part of their old masters. Feelings of alarm, however, are confined to the most ignorant among them. Intelligent and educated negroes are doing all they can to suppress such fears. What uneasiness exists originated from the foolish remarks of white men, who, during the recent celebrations, jokingly told some negroes that they would be returned to slavery. No fear need be entertained for this section of the South.

  NASHVILLE, NOV. 18--Immediately after it was known that Cleveland had been elected, a report that the victory of the Democratic party signified the re-enslavement of the colored people in Southern States was circulated throughout Tennessee. This falsehood, emanating from negroes, some of whom were actuated by malice and others by mere ignorance, aroused the gravest fears on the part of many. The earnest denials that were at once made by those who realized the absurdity of the story were accepted by many and rejected by others. The more ignorant negroes, having labored under the impression for years that the continuance in power of the Republican party was absolutely essential for their welfare and progress, openly discussed the matter on the streets, and some were positive in the belief that their days of freedom were over.

  This erroneous idea was promptly met with emphatic assertions by Democratic and Republican leaders that the colored element had nothing to fear from Democratic success, and that time would prove how groundless were their apprehensions. Prominent colored pastors have from the pulpit counselled the negroes to put no faith in the stories which they have been told by those who are inimical to their interests, and to rest assured that as long as the republic lasts there will be no more slavery.