PRESIDENTIAL SOUTHERN TOUR, ADDRESS TO THE COLORED PEOPLE OF CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

 

September 20, 1877

Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

My desire was, as was that of all associated with me in the Government; as is the desire, I am sure, of all good citizens, that the colored people should be safe and secure in all of their rights under the Constitution as it is, and under the laws of the land.  We were solicitous that their interests and their rights should be regarded, and our belief was, our confidence we may say, was perfect, that with the bayonets removed from the South, the people of color would be safer in every right, in every interest, than they ever were when protected merely by the bayonet.  I rejoice that your address assures me that so far as you are concerned here, the result is according to our anticipations.  I thank you for coming here to welcome me; for coming here to bear this testimony before the country; and I trust, my colored friends, that your future will be brighter and brighter, your condition better and better, and that you will always remember that to command respect, men must have the virtues to deserve respect.  Industry, good conduct, intelligence, are good for white men and for colored men.