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(1877) Alexander Crummell, “Address Before the American Geographical Society”

African American intellectual Alexander Crummell was one of the few19th century scholars known and respected widely among European Americans. In an address before the American Geographical Society delivered in Chickering Hall in New York City on May 22, 1877, Crummell demonstrates his appeal to one such audience.

Mr. President: It is a most singular fact that now, in the 19th century, in an age of great practicality, we should be witnessing two remarkable movements, dis¬tinguished in a very marked degree by sentiment. We see, on the one hand, a mighty movement of a great Christian nation to extinguish the sufferings of the sub¬ject Christians of Turkey, to strike the crescent from the minarets of Constantinople, and to rescue St. Sophia from the hands of the Moslem. And, on the other hand, we stand at the commencement of a grand en¬deavor of Christendom to wipe the blood from the bruised brow of Africa, to lift up its vast populations to enlightenment, and to rescue a great continent from the dominion of superstition and barbarism.

Well, sir, it would seem as though the age of chivalry had returned to a busy, plodding, commercial, manu¬facturing era; and that it is likely to give dignity to our age, and grandeur to its motives and its endeavors.

I have called this movement for the benefit of Africa, one distinguished by sentiment, but not by mere senti¬ment, for I regard the objects of this meeting to night as thoroughly practical, deeply human, and entirely worthy of the age.

It is it should be thoroughly human, undertaken with no one sided views and purposes; but carried on in a manner which shall affect all the interests of temporal as well as eternal  a movement which shall regard the objects of our compassion, and likewise the interests of all the participants in this noble scheme, in all the divers phases of our common humanity.

Now, in this project the COMMERCIAL IDEA is, to a greater or less degree, an matter of interest and solicitude. Anal this seems to me perfectly legitimate.  I cannot regard it as

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