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Proceedings of the Civil Rights Mass-Meeting held at Lincoln Hall, October 22, 1883. Speeches of Hon. Frederick Douglass and Robert G. Ingersoll.

1883DC-National-Washington_Proceedings (5).pdf

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meeting, which promises to be a most memorable one. In the presence of the distinguished gentlemen who are to address you on this occasion, it would be inappropriate for me to trespass on your time and patience with any lengthened remarks. The call published in the daily papers, and printed on the slips which you hold in your hands, sufficiently explains the object of the meeting. If we judge correctly, we have reached a point when, as a part of the American people proscribed by the practices and laws of the land, it behooves us to consider the duties of the hour—when we must counsel with the wisest and best of our fellow citizens, and be willing to be advised by them what course to pursue in view of the probable effect of the unexpected decision of the Supreme Court, taking from us the protection of National authority and handing us over to the unjust local prejudices and customs of the States. For this purpose we are met to-night.

Mr. LEWIS H. DOUGLASS will now read the resolutions prepared by the committee.

Mr. DOUGLASS, chairman of the committee, reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:


Whereas, The Supreme Court of the United States has solemnly declared its opinion that the Congressional Enactment known as the Civil Rights Law, of February 27, 1875, is not in accordance with the United States Constitution, and is consequently, inoperative as a measure for the protection of the negro in his manhood rights; and whereas, the customs and traditions of many of the States in the Union are inimical to the negro as a man and a citizen, and he finds neither in the common law nor in the sentiments of his white fellow citizen that full protection which he has earned by his loyalty and devotion to the Nation in its hour of extreme peril; and whereas, it is our duty as good, law abiding citizens, to respect the decisions of the Courts as to the validity of the laws upon which they are called to pass judgment; therefore, be it

Resolved, That words of indignation or disrespect aimed at the Supreme Court of the United States would not only be useless as a means for securing our main object—namely, the protection due to our manhood and citizenship—but, on the contrary, would tend to alienate our friends and all who have faith in the honesty and integrity of that august and learned tribunal.

Resolved, That it is the primal duty of all lovers of their country, all friends of justice, without respect to party lines, to see to it that the full and equal protection of the laws are afforded every citizen, without respect to race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Resolved, That we hold the Republican party to the enforcement of this demand: "That complete liberty and exact equality in the enjoyment of all civil, political, and public rights should be established and effectually maintained throughout the Union by efficient and appropriate State and Federal legislation, and that neither the law nor its administration should admit any discrimination in respect to citizens by reason of race, creed, color or previous condition of servitude."

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