Untitled [The railroads of Texas have been harassed]

A brief editorial statement about the conditions on Texas railroads and the lack of equal accomodations for African Americans and the need for a continued struggle against "American intolerance."

The railroads of Texas have been harassed by the colored people of that State, who had been outrageously treated in the matter of decent accommodations. Four colored ministers and one lawyer have advised the people to accept a compromise by which the railroad is to furnish first-class coaches for their accommodation. These five men say that colored men do not desire to ride in the same coaches with white men - they simply want equal comfort for the same money that other men get it. The New York Sun commends this position of the colored men as a wise and thoughtful one, but we are unable to see it in that light. In the first place, if the colored men did not possess undisputed rights the railroads would not have suggested compromise; then if the colored men have undisputed rights, they imperil the equity of their case by entering into any arrangement short of absolute right. There is no half-way ground between absolute right and absolute wrong - either the railroads have no right to discriminate further than the price for degree of comfort desired, or they have. We hold that the only discrimination which a railroad has a right to make is in the rate of transportation; any other is an infringement of the constitution right and not to be compromised under any circumstances. The principle of discrimination is repugnant, and must be sternly met and combated. There can be no compromise with wrong. If we desire to buy a twenty dollar coat instead of a ten dollar one we have no trouble in satisfying ourselves; then, if we want twenty dollars' worth of railroad accommodation instead of ten why should we not be able to obtain it - especially when the railroad holds its franchise form the whole people, not any one part, and is placed under obligation to treat all patrons alike. The railroad has as much right to charge a colored man twenty cents an a white man fifteen cents per bushel for the transportation of wheat as it has to charge the one and the other the same rate of passage, giving the one full value for his passage money, while the other must put up with bad or indifferent fare as the railroad authorities may determine. The principle of discrimination has nothing but selfishness to rest upon, and we protest against, and will resist it to the last extreme, whether we find it in Texas or in New York. Colored men should not compromise with villainy. They should protest against it and resist it to the bitter end. We must fight American intolerance step by step, and we must not yield an inch of vantage ground. There is no half-way ground - we are either entitled to common right or we are not.

About this Document

  • Source: New York Globe
  • Published: City
  • Date: September 29, 1883