The Inconsistency of Colored People Using Slave Produce by Jacob C. White, Jr.
It is a fact that is (or should be) well known by every Colored American; That there are now up-wards of three million slaves in the “United States of America”. It is a fact that should also be known, that they can only remain slaves so long as the slave trade is encouraged; or in other words, so long as their masters have sale for the cotton, the sugar, the rice, the tobacco, or what-ever it may be that the slaves are forced to cultivate for sale. What would be the object in the masters having slaves to work from day to day if he could not dispense of the products of their labor? It could not possibly be an advantage to him to have them toiling to accumulate something that he could not sell, and he would consequen-tially have no use for; and when he found that such was really the case and that it was useless for him to have slaves, their emancipa-tion and the compensation of them or some other persons for their labor would probably be the result. I do not mean to intimate however that if the colored people were all to abstain from the buying of slave products that the abolition of slavery would be the result; But I do say that they would be acting with consistency if they were to make it a rule not to buy any products but those of compensated labor; For it is a general thing they are in favor of the abolition of slavery and maintain that they are friendly to the downtrodden and oppressed slaves, while at the same time they are using money to keep in slavery. If there were but two stores in the city and one sold free produce and the other slave produce, I doubt that there could be found one colored person in fifty that would put themselves to the least trouble in order to patronize the stores that sold the free produce. And while they utter maledictions against the slaveholders, and cry against the system of slavery as an infernal system; they at the same time encourage the slaveholder to continue his business.
Copy returned with corrections
This address was delivered by orator and community activist, Institute graduate Jacob C. White, Jr. In the speech, White asks his fellow free black citizens of Philadelphia to question why they are purchasing products made by Southern slave labor.
Image: "American Negro Historical Society, December 30, 1852 - September 14, 1854," Leon Gardiner Collection [0008B], Historical Society of Pennsylvania.