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3 Intro­ duc­ tion­ Scott’s Foun­ da­ tional Years It is now time for the Negro ­ papers to speak out, and show that Scott is put up for sale. God save us from them. Saint Louis Pal­ la­ dium, 16 July 1904 While ­ William ­ Thomas Scott was pre­ par­ ing to at­ tend the sec­ ond ses­ sion of the Na­ tional Negro Lib­ erty Party Con­ ven­ tion in Saint Louis, Mis­ souri, on Thurs­ day, 7 July 1904, the front page of the Saint Louis Re­ pub­ lic was ad­ vis­ ing that day’s vis­ i­ tors to the Loui­ siana Pur­ chase Ex­ po­ si­ tion to ex­ pect a con­ tin­ u­ a­ tion of “un­ set­ tled and show­ ery ­ weather.” Wednes­ day had been a warm, rainy, and humid day, and per­ haps that, or the fact that more than three hun­ dred del­ e­ gates from ­ thirty-five ­ states had ­ crowded into the meet­ ing hall at Saint­ Louis’s newly ­ opened Doug­ lass Hotel, ex­ plained why del­ e­ gates of this new po­ lit­ i­ cal party had se­ lected a ­ ticket un­ ac­ cept­ able to Scott. Scott was the host and chair of this con­ ven­ tion, and he ­ should have had a­ greater im­ pact on its de­ lib­ er­ a­ tions and de­ ci­ sions. On the pos­ i­ tive side, del­ e­ gates had ­ adopted a num­ ber of plat­ form ­ planks im­ por­ tant to black ­ Americans, in­ clud­ ing one that sup­ ported a bill then cir­ cu­ lat­ ing in the U.S. Con­ gress to give pen­ sions to ­ ex-slaves as rep­ ar­ a­ tions for con­ don­ ing slav­ ery. Then liv­ ing in­ nearby East Saint Louis, Il­ li­ nois, Scott had an­ nounced that the party would se­ lect can­ di­ dates for the of­ fices of pres­ i­ dent and vice pres­ i­ dent of the ­ United­ States and ­ surely had ­ thought that del­ e­ gates would ­ choose can­ di­ dates who were black and who would give black vot­ ers an op­ por­ tu­ nity to ex­ press their in­ de­ pen­ dence and their man­ hood. In­ stead, del­ e­ gates ­ endorsed the ­ ticket of the na­ tional Re­ pub­ li­ can Party, ­ headed by Theo­ dore Roose­ velt, who was white and the sit­ ting pres­ i­ dent of the ­ United ­ States. Del­ e­ gates ei­ ther ig­ nored or were un­ a­ ware of the fact that only a year ear­ lier Roose­ velt had sum­ mar­ ily dis­ missed a del­ e­ ga­ tion of Introduction 4 black lead­ ers seek­ ing pen­ sions for black vet­ e­ rans of the Civil War, stat­ ing that it was ­ enough that ­ blacks had ob­ tained their free­ dom in 1865 and the right to vote in 1870. Scott ­ likely ob­ tained only a few hours of sleep ­ between the Wednes­ day and Thurs­ day ses­ sions, spend­ ing much of his time hud­ dled with ­ like-minded del­ e­ gates and con­ vinc­ ing oth­ ers to re­ con­ sider their votes when the con­ ven­ tion re­ con­ vened. He was, after all, in his own home­ town and still the chair of the con­ ven­ tion. The am­ bi­ ence of the hall and the con­ ven­ tion—and its com­ po­ si­ tion— had ­ changed dra­ mat­ i­ cally by Thurs­ day morn­ ing. Del­ e­ gates had been cer­ tified in the first ses­ sion, but an ad­ di­ tional hun­ dred or so del­ e­ gates had ar­ rived dur­ ing the night, and that de­ tail was ei­ ther over­ looked or ig­ nored for the sec­ ond ses­ sion. After spir­ ited de­ bate, del­ e­ gates re­ con­ sid­ ered ­ Wednesday’s votes, re­ moved­ Roosevelt’s name from the ­ party’s ­ ticket, and ­ turned to the task of nom­ i­ nat­ ing some­ one who would stand sep­ ar­ ately as the ­ party’s ­ standard-bearer. Those who had sup­ ported Roose­ velt and the Re­ pub­ li­ can ­ ticket quit the con­ ven­ tion in dis­ may, leav­ ing be­ hind only those en­ thu­ sias­ tic for in­ de­ pen­ dence. By the end of the day, the con­ ven­ tion had se­ lected a dif­ fer­ ent ­ ticket, and this one was led by Scott for the of­ fice...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780299301835
Related ISBN
9780299301842
MARC Record
OCLC
892686692
Pages
200
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-09
Language
English
Open Access
No
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