Chickasha Express
(Oklahoma)
28 October 1914

 

PUTS EMPHASIS
        ON RACE QUESTION

Says Repeal of Amendments and Modification of Laws is Solution-Implacable Foe of Liquor Evil

  Senator James K. Vardaman, the picturesque Mississippi statesman was a distinct disappointment to many who heard him for the first time in his lecture delivered Tuesday evening in the auditorium of the Oklahoma College for Women, under the auspices of the United Charities. He had no horns he was not a fire eater he didn't rant and rage when he discussed the race question, he manifested no symptoms of savagery, he was not even eccentric except in the possession of the long hair which has made him the target of the caricaturist.
   What the audience saw was a man of distinguished appearance, typically southern, a frank, open countenance, ease and grace in every movement. What they heard was a poet and a preacher, for Vardaman is both of these. He is poetic in temperament and modes of expression; in his flights of eloquence he reveals in imagery and diction no less rich and musical than the famous Bob Taylor employed, and his lecture is adorned with a wealth of apt poetic quotations, indicating a man of letters of discriminating taste. As a preacher, Vardaman possesses to a marked degree the qualities of the successful pulpiteer. He appeals to the heart and conscience and he seeks to move men to action; he is intensely earnest and evidently deeply sincere; he utilizes eloquence, pathos and humor with equal facility in his efforts to enforce his argument Added to the gifts of the poet and preacher, Vardaman has a voice of great charm, his elocution is effective and his whole equipment makes a rare combination for a popular platform speaker.
   "Man and His Relations to the Government" was the subject of Senator Vardaman's lecture and throughout he sought to impress the idea that the solution of every problem pertaining to government rests ultimately with the citizen. The perpetuity of the republic and the wise handling of all the, great economic and social questions -- all depended upon the intelligent action of the ordinary citizen and again and again the speaker repeated, "Don't forget that." To the ordinary citizen

??? constitution never intended that the courts should have power to invalidate any act of congress by declaring it unconstitutional. "If that power had been given to the supreme court, the constitution would never have been ratified," said he.
   "I am proud of the fact that the first vote I cast in my life was against the liquor traffic," said the speaker. "The liquor traffic is the caused more woe than any other one evil and I have opposed it all my life. As a United States senator I shall do everything in my power to wipe out the traffic in the nation."
   When the speaker reached the race problem it was clear that he was "right at home," and that he felt more deeply upon this question than any other issue with which he dealt. Going back to the early history of the slave traffic in this country and tracing it down to the time of Jefferson, he pointed to the prophecy of the latter who told the people of his generation that unless they dealt effectively with slavery it would be settled in a sea of blood.
   "The race question is still with us and it is one of our greatest problems," said the speaker. "Unless we meet it we must face greater trouble in the future. Education of the negro cannot solve it. Half a century after his emancipation the negro, as shown by statistics, is more criminal than ever, in spite of the efforts to educate him. Up to a certain age the negro is susceptible of education and then he begins to go back. The only solution of this question is the repeal of the fifteenth amendment and the modification of the fourteenth and then suitable legislation which will be adapted to meeting the condition resulting from the differences between the two races. Don't say it can't he done. It can be done if you make up your mind to do it. It has been said that I hate the negro, but it is not true. I don't hate the negro or any other creature. I honor and revere the slaves who remained at home and protected our women and children when the war broke out and I honor and revere the memory of the dear old black mammy who nursed my and my children. I want this problem solved in the interest of both races."
   The senator closed his lecture with a beautiful tribute to womanhood.
   Senator Vardaman was introduced to the audience by Col. Thos. J. O'Neill, who served with him in the Mississippi legislature many years ago and who paid him a fine tribute.
a brief rest and upon his arrival there Monday was extended a most enthusiastic greeting by his loyal constituents.
   The stand taken by Major Vardaman in the senate and the course pursued by him during the unusually in long and trying session of that body is most gratifying to his friends and supporters. His policy while aggressive, has at the same time been dignified and in pressing the causes which he deemed just and right he has done so in a manner which gained for him not only the confidence and esteem of his fellow workers who were aligned with him but also the respect of those who were arrayed against him.
   While Maj. Vardaman differed with President Wilson on some matters his opinions were honest and sincere, and he had the courage to express them openly and to urge their adoption in such legislation as they affected. He has not, however, been so unfortunate as to antagonize the administration, but on the other hand enjoys his confidence and esteem, and has been signally successful in securing the appointment to responsible positions prominent Democrats from this and other cities throughout the State.
   Fulfilling an anti-election promise. Senator Vardaman has not been a servant of any political faction or small coterie of men, but has served the people of the entire State and has served them faithfully and well. He is already recognized as a national figure, probably being better known than any other senator whose Washington career is still in as incipency.

 

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