We have noticed an error which all journalists seem to make. Whether from mistake or ill-intention, we are unable to say, but the profession universally begins Negro with a small letter. It is certainly improper, and as no one has ever given a good reason for this breach of orthography, we will offer one. White men began printing long before Colored men dared read their works; had power to establish any rule they saw fit. As a mark of disrespect, as a stigma, as a badge of inferiority, they tacitly agreed to spell his name without a capital. The French, German, Irish, Dutch, Japanese, and other nationalities are honored with a capital letter, but the poor sons of Ham must bear the burden of a small n.

To our Colored journalistic brothers we present this as a matter of self interest. Spell it with a capital. To the Democratic journals we present this as a matter of good grammar. To the Republicans we present it as a matter of right. Spell it with a capital. To all persons who would take from our wearied shoulders a hair’s weight of the burden of prejudice and ill will we bear, we present this as a matter of human clarity and beg you SPELL IT WITH A CAPITAL.

Daughters of Africa by Margaret Busby

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