Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"and see that the liberties of their children are guarded with sleepless vigilance. Let their foes be aware!"

The Negro Military Organizations in Charleston.

   It is well that the people should know that for three months past bodies of armed negroes have been drilling nightly at four different places of rendezvous in the City of Charleston. They make no noise or disturbance beyond giving the word of command and going through the ordinary military evolutions, but they are working patiently and steadily to make themselves trained and disciplined armed associations.

   The new constitution; by which all negroes swear, declares that "the people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defence." This means that they have the right to bear them openly and in the light of day. There is no interference to be dreaded, for the negroes can drill upon the Citadel Green at noon if they desire. They have no one to molest or disturb them, but they still do their drilling in the dark hours of the night, and in quarters of the city where they are hidden from general observation.

   It is evident that this conduct admits of but one rational explanation. If the negroes were only organizing because they are fond of playing at soldier, they would not lurk in out-of-the-way corners and keep their movements secret They would parade openly and in public; and now that they so far give up their natural love of show as to exercise where they have no spectators but themselves, it is reasonably certain that they are gathered together for no good or peaceful purpose. The military organizations of the negroes in Abbeville, and Union, and upon the sea islands, should teach us a lesson. All over the State there are negro companies, battalions and regiments. It is their avowed purpose to over awe the white man, to keep him down by force of arms. Have the similar organizations which exist in Charleston any other aim?

   In this connection we desire to call attention to a significant extract from the last number of the negro Cain's negro paper. It is as follows:

   "When the issue comes, there will be 80,000 loyal men who will spring to arms in this State at the sound of the first note. Every plantation has its captain; and the men and women are prepared to stand by their liberties. They stand on the defensive, and no aggressive measure will be taken by them; they are determined to keep the peace and abide by law and order, and see that the liberties of their children are guarded with sleepless vigilance. Let their foes be aware!"

[The Charleston Daily News, Charleston, S.C., Wednesday Morning, August 12, 1868. Volume VI.--Number 921. Pg. 2]

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