And moreover, I don't want equal rights, but identical rights. The whites and blacks may have equal rights, and yet be entirely independent, or estranged from each other. The two races cannot live in the same country, under the same laws as they now do, and yet be absolutely independent of each other. There must, there should, and there will be a mutual dependence, and any thing that tends to create independence, while it is thus so manifestly impossible, can engender strife alone between them. On the other hand, whatever brings them into closer relationship, whatever increases their knowledge and appreciation of fellowship and its positive importance, must necessarily tend to remove all prejudices, and all ill-feelings, and bring the two races, and indeed the world, nearer that degree of perfection to which all things show us it is approaching. Therefore I want identical rights, for equal rights may not be sufficient.
"It is for you, Henry, more than any one I know of, to demonstrate to the world around us, in this part of it at least (the North), the equality of intellect in the races. You win by your uprightness and intelligence, and it cannot be otherwise than that you will gain respect and confidence."
Thus a lady correspondent (Miss M. E. H., Durham Centre, Ct.) encourages, thus she keeps up the desire to graduate, to demonstrate to the world "the equality of intellect in the races," that not color but the want of this proof in this semi-barbarous people is the obstacle to their being recognized as social equals. A tremendous task! Not so much to prove such an equality--for that had already been abundantly demonstrated--but rather to show the absurdity and impracticability of prejudice on account of color; or, in other words, that there is no such prejudice. It is prejudice on account of non-refinement and non-education.
As to how far and how well I have discharged that duty, my readers, and all others who may be in any manner interested in me, must judge from my narrative and my career at West Point. Assuring all that my endeavor has been to act as most becomes a gentleman, and with Christian forbearance to disregard all unfriendliness or prejudice, I leave this subject, this general résumé of my treatment at the hands of the cadets, and my own conduct, with the desire that it be criticised impartially if deemed worthy of criticism at all.
"Reporter.--Have you any more colored cadets?
"Captain H--.--Only one--Henry O. Flipper, of Georgia. He is a well-built lad, a mulatto, and is bright, intelligent, and studious.
"Reporter.--Do the cadets dislike him as much as they did Smith?
"Captain H--.--No, sir; I am told that he is more popular. I have heard of no doubt but that he will get through all right."--New York Herald, July, 1874.